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CVS returns to contactless mobile payments with CVS Pay

CVS has just unveiled its latest entry into the world of mobile payments with CVS Pay.

CVS Pay is a comprehensive mobile payment option that lives within CVS’ CVS Pharmacy application. The new option represents CVS’ next big step into the world of mobile payments, an area that has seen some level of trepidation from CVS as a member of the Merchant Customer Exchange and its troubled history with mobile payments.

“CVS Health is dedicated to making health care convenient, personal and affordable – and digital tools are key to delivering this experience,” said Brian Tilzer, chief digital officer of CVS Health. “That’s why, over the past few years, we have been focused on investing in and developing cutting-edge digital services and personalized capabilities to support our corporate strategies across the company – ultimately simplifying the customer experience and making it easier for consumers everywhere to better manage their health.

“CVS Pay fits this mission perfectly by making our customers’ shopping and checkout experiences at CVS Pharmacy faster, easier and more convenient – thus, enabling customers to better manage their health.”

CVS’ new CVS Pay option is a comprehensive payment system. The payment option is housed in the brand’s CVS Pharmacy app and can be enabled simply by entering credit card information into the app.

Through this app, CVS is giving its customers access to payments, prescription pickup and the brand’s reward system, ExtraCare loyalty, all in one place.

“After pre-loading your credit card information into the CVS Pharmacy app, customers can use the app to complete transactions both in the front store and the pharmacy,” Mr. Tilzer said. “If customers are in the pharmacy picking up a prescription, they simply open the app and select ‘Pick Up Rx.’

“The pharmacist will then scan the barcode (or type in the pickup number you provide if using the drive-thru) and have your information to get your prescription,” he said. “Once the pharmacist verifies the transaction, customers use their finger and sign for the prescription(s) on their mobile device.

“If payment is involved, customers will then be brought to the CVS Pay portion of the app, where they can then select a card to use, authorize with Touch ID or their personal CVS Pay PIN, and the transaction is complete.”

CVS Pay was piloted in early August in the New York city area. After the successful test, the system is now available to all users of the app nationally.

Contactless payments
The pharmacy is a member of the Merchant Customer Exchange, a group of retailers who were working on their own shared mobile payment option, CurrentC, before various troubles and security breaches left it behind (see story).

Since then, CVS, which had discontinued any use of contactless mobile payments in 2014, along with a few other members, began quietly developing their own independent mobile payment systems, culminating in the nationwide release of CVS Pay.

“If customers are picking something up from the front store, they just open the app and select ‘ExtraCare Card + Pay,'” Mr. Tilzer said. “Once the CVS employee uses the barcode that appears to scan the customer’s CVS ExtraCare card, the customer then chooses the credit card they would like to use for the transaction.

“Just like the transaction at the pharmacy, customers will authorize the payment with Touch ID or their personal CVS Pay PIN, and the transaction is complete. In both instances, ExtraCare rewards are already integrated into the app, so customers can apply applicable coupons to any purchase.”