While Best Buy was initially planning on using a rival digital payment platform, the retail chain has announced that it will be rolling out Apple Pay in stores later in the fall, with in-app support available right now on iPhone.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the Apple Pay Best Buy partnership during the company’s quarterly earnings call and Best Buy made its own announcement as well, saying that customers can begin to use Apple Pay in the Best Buy app on the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.
Best Buy was one of the handful of larger retail chains that initially signed on as a CurrentC partner, a rival digital payment platform that begged retailers to be exclusive to the service only, keeping out Apple Pay. However, this obviously didn’t last long, as Best Buy is now on the list of Apple Pay providers.
While Apple’s new payment service is accepted at a wide variety of major retail stores and fast food establishments, there are still a large number of giant retail chains that won’t support Apple Pay, and it’s all because of CurrentC.
Walmart is one of the big retail chains that isn’t supporting Apple Pay, simply because of prior agreements with the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is a group consisting of a handful of retail stores, including Walmart, that will support CurrentC instead of Apple’s payment platform.
CVS and Rite Aid are two other members of the group, and while they accepted NFC payments in the past, they recently shut down NFC payments all together because of their involvement with the Merchant Customer Exchange, which essentially requires that these retail stores use CurrentC and nothing else.
The Merchant Customer Exchange praises its upcoming CurrentC payment platform, as it links directly to users’ debit accounts, which bypasses card companies and their transaction fees. However, it’s not the best solution for the consumer. The system uses QR codes that requires the user to unlock their phone, open up an app, and display a QR code that gets scanned by the pay terminal reader, whereas Apple Pay simply requires users to take out their iPhones and point it close to the NFC terminal with their finger on the Touch ID sensor.
Plus, CurrentC collects all sorts of information about your purchases, making it one of the least favorite options when it comes to user privacy, and it certainly doesn’t help that CurrentC was hacked.
Whether or not Walmart, CVS, or Rite Aid stick with CurrentC is up in the air, as the platform hasn’t even launched yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the platform fail eventually and have these stores quickly switch back to Apple Pay, especially since there aren’t any penalties for companies that want to leave CurrentC and join Apple Pay, which might be why Best Buy jumped ship.
Apple Pay was launched last year in October and has become the fastest-growing digital payment platform on the market so far.
Apple Pay allows you to store your credit card information on your iPhone and use it to buy stuff at any store that supports Apple Pay. The iPhone 6 has an NFC chip that allows you to tap the pay terminal at a store to instantly buy goods without swiping your credit card. Furthermore, doing this doesn’t give the store your credit card information, so you’re less susceptible to store hacks that steal credit card information, similar to the recent Home Depot and Target hacks.
Apple Pay also works with mobile shopping apps, allowing you to pay with a single touch of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in shopping apps that support the feature.