Rite Aid And CVS Bounce Apple Pay And NFC Payments In Favor Of MCX ‘CurrentC’

Competition is heating up between select retailers and Apple Pay. Earlier this week, Rite Aid took steps to shut down support for Apple and Google’s digital wallets. While the pharmacy chain was not an official Apple Pay partner, consumers were able to use the payment system with existing NFC payment terminals until a short while ago. But now, CVS is following suit.

CVS sent an email to its stores saying that NFC support is supposed to be turned off and that the company will not accept Apple Pay. The email went on to say that cashiers should be instructed to apologize to the customer, explain that CVS does not accept Apple Pay, and then inform the customer that it will have its own mobile wallet next year. Through Twitter, and various media outlets, consumers are confirming that NFC support has been turned off at CVS stores today.

The move by both companies is due to their participation in the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). It is a company, created by various merchant businesses, that is developing its own mobile payment system called CurrentC. While Apple Pay is supported by a plethora of banking institutions, that see it as a way to increase the number of transactions consumers make with a credit card, none currently support CurrentC and for good reason. CurrentC allows retailers to cut out the middleman and pull payment directly from the consumer’s account. This way, credit card processing fees are eliminated, making CurrentC a more profitable method of payment for retailers.

Aside from Rite Aid and CVS being a part of MCX, the organization also includes major businesses such as Wawa, 7-Eleven, Walmart, Kmart, Dunkin donuts, Lowe’s, Sears, Sam’s Club, Old Navy, Target, Best Buy, and other large retailers and major US gas station chains. All of these businesses will use CurrentC when the payment method is introduced next year.

But while the banks are fully embracing Apple Pay, the same can’t be said for businesses. Apple has been struggling to bring more merchant businesses on board. Currently, there are only 34 Apple Pay partners that includes Office Depot, Toys R Us, Subway, McDonald’s, Walgreens, the Disney Store, Radioshack, and eight different iterations of Foot Locker while six more businesses are expected to partner with Apple Pay – Anthropologie, Free People, Sephora, Staples, Urban Outfitters, and Walt Disney World.

CurrentC is expected to launch next year.

How many more retailers do you think will follow Rite Aid and CVS’s example and cut out Apple Pay? What form of payment will you expect to use the most?