Rite Aid has reinstated its support both the Apple Pay and the Google Wallet mobile payment systems. The pharmacy chain further revealed that all of its estimated 4,600 locations within the United States will begin accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet effective on August 15th of this year. Moreover, Rite Aid will also be supporting the soon to be released Android Pay, as well as support tap and pay credit and debit cards.
Apple Pay is perhaps the most popular mobile payment system today, or at least the most hyped, and Apple is certainly busying itself continuing to expand support for the system, especially among credit card companies, banking institutions, and retail corporations. Apple has already virtually convinced all the major credit card providers operating in the US to support Apple Pay, as well as over 400 banks and credit unions.
Retail companies are a bit more challenging, however. Despite having already won over 71 retail chains in America (with 27 more to be added in the next few months), Apple still has a lot to cover. Also, retail chains pose a challenge because not all retailers in the US have the point of sale (POS) systems equipped with near field communications (NFC) technology necessary to facilitate Apple Pay transactions.
Google’s own mobile payment system, Google Wallet, similarly requires NFC technology, although it does allow owners of non-NFC handsets to send money to other people. But so far, Google Wallet has failed to take off with the masses, despite having been already introduced since 2011. In May earlier this year, Google unveiled a new mobile payment system called Android Pay, an NFC type of system that should give Apple Pay a run for its money.
As for Rite Aid, it is an intriguing about face for the company, which had withdrawn its support for Apple Pay and Google Wallet late last year. At the time, the pharmacy chain was still evaluating all sorts of mobile payment systems available, and it wanted to be sure which systems it was going to support, or at least that is what a Rite Aid spokesperson is claiming. Or perhaps the fact that Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) had something to do with it. MCX has been preparing a mobile payment system of its own called CurrentC, and it is designed to rival Apple’s system. Of course, Rite Aid will still strongly support CurrentC, but it is good to hear that it has also welcomed back Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
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