During the last several years, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has been at the forefront in innovation and creative design; but if there’s one category they’ve seemingly neglected, it’s mobile payments. In fact, it wasn’t until just recently that Apple decided to standardize ‘Apple Pay’–an NFC-based mobile payment technology–on their newest additions of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple’s newly released Apple Pay arrived a little over three years after the introduction of ‘Google Wallet’ in 2011, and Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) in 2012. MCX is notably the current industry standard in NFC payment technology and is being used by brands like Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), CVS (NYSE: CVS), and Rite-Aid (NYSE: RAD). Although vendors have largely embraced this new technology, Apple has faced an uphill battle in trying to get their new payment option at the register. Despite the fact that over 10 million new NFC enabled iPhones were sold within the first weekend of sales, CVS and Rite-Aid have reported that they will not be accepting Apply Pay from customers. Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)–a competitor of the two major health brands–has decided to take a different approach by embracing this new form of payment.
Walgreens has long been a supporter of NFC payment technology, having been one of the first to make the necessary upgrades in their stores in response to the release of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Wallet back in 2011. Company representatives have been eager to take capitalize off of iPhone owners who wish to take advantage of this new feature by posting messages on their social media accounts, informing users that they will in fact accept Apple Pay in any one of their over 8,000 store fronts; they’ve also included a link to a store locations so that customers can easily find a nearby Walgreens to make purchases.
CVS and Rite-Aid have both come out as saying that the reason they are unable to accept Apple Pay is because they are contractually bound to the services of MCX and are unable to accept Apple Pay or Google Wallet without incurring fees for violating the contract. In the meantime, it’s expected that Walgreens will benefit from this public relations boost and the increase in sales from iPhone users who are well known for their reverence to the brand.