The list of stores that support Apple Pay is slowly growing, but there are still some bigger stores that have vowed not to support Apple Pay, most due to contract obligations, but that could soon change.
The reason why many big chain stores aren’t supporting Apple Pay is because they’re already locked into another digital payment service called CurrentC, which allows shoppers to pay for goods on their smartphones using QR codes.
An exclusivity agreement has caused some stores to forbid offering any kind of NFC payment support, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, in favor of this QR code system. These stores include CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, and Best Buy.
However, this exclusivity could expire in just a few months, according to Re/Code.
The exclusivity agreement doesn’t seem to mean much anyway, as midwest grocery chain Meijer offers Apple Pay as a payment method and is still a part of the CurrentC program. It was said that CurrentC partners who deviate from the exclusivity would be fined, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The Merchant Customer Exchange, which is the group behind the CurrentC system, praises its upcoming payment platform, as it links directly to users’ debit accounts, which bypasses card companies and their transaction fees. However, it’s been stated that 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.
Apple Pay was launched earlier this month and has become the fastest-growing digital payment platform on the market so far, but it’s not all roses and candy for everyone.
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.
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 CVS, Rite Aid, and other partnered stores 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.
So if you’re wondering why Apple Pay isn’t accepted at more stores than what’s already supported, it’s somewhat due to competition and exclusivity. Merchants believe it’s in their best interest to offer payment methods that benefit them instead of the customers, while other retailers that support Apple Pay think it’s best to offer as many payment methods as possible.
iOS and Android users alike are banding together, though, and a thread on Reddit inviting Android users to join iOS in the fight to bring NFC payments back has reached the front page of the popular website. Whether or not it will work is still something that will take time to decide, but this is one instance where Apple and Android users are finally getting along, and that’s definitely a good thing.