News Feature | October 31, 2014

Walgreens Enables Apple Pay Nationwide

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies
Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Walgreens Apple Pay

As CVS and Rite Aid jump ship from ApplePay, Walgreens proclaims full speed ahead!

Walgreens have announced that ApplePay may now be used to make purchases at all Walgreens and Duane Reade drug stores nationwide, according to DrugStoreNews. 

“Customer experience is top of mind for Walgreens, and Apple Pay provides more flexibility for customers to use their payment of choice,” said Alex Gourlay, president, customer experience and daily living, Walgreens. “Incorporating the latest mobile technology into our business is another way we are offering ultimate convenience for our customers.”

ApplePay can be used in the more than 8,200 Walgreens and Duane Reade drugstores and works with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. To use ApplePay to make a purchase, customers  hold their iPhone near the contactless reader at checkout, place their finger on Touch ID, and the transaction will be completed  easily and securely.

Apple has touted the simplicity of its new payment system, as the Walgreens press release explains.  “Security and privacy is at the core of Apple Pay. When a user adds a credit or debit card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the Secure Element on your device. Each transaction is authorized with a one-time unique dynamic security code, instead of using the security code from the back of the card. If the iPhone is lost or stolen, the owner can use Find My iPhone to quickly suspend or remove cards from the device.”

Walgreens’ rollout comes as two of its competitors, Rite Aid and CVS, have clearly shunned ApplePay for its own system called CurrentC, being developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, according to the New York Times.  

Although CurrentC is not due to be released until 2015, some retailers believe that it will pose a serious challenge to ApplePay, and because it is tied to merchants, it will allow for personalized loyalty rewards and campaigns for shopping at participating stores.

Meanwhile, ApplePay’s actual rollout seems to be moving slowly, as not all retailers who technically accept the program have the appropriate NFC payment pads yet, as Business Insider pointed out.  While 200,000 retail locations have signed on to ApplePay, that number remains a small fraction of retailers across the country.