Pharmacy retailer CVS has started to accept Apple Pay for payment in its stores nationwide, months after a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested a rollout was in the works, according to MacRumors.
The move comes four years after Apple Pay debuted, at which time CVS and several other retailers disabled NFC payment terminals in their stores with the aim of blocking Apple Pay usage.
The list of Apple pay holdouts in the retail sector is growing shorter by the month. While Walmart continues to remain on the sidelines, major retailers like CVS, which have their own branded mobile wallet options, are increasingly adding the service.
Two years ago, CVS rolled out CVS Pay Similarly to Walmart Pay and several other retailer-branded wallet apps, CVS Pay emerged in the void left by the demise of CurrentC, the digital wallet that several retailers had been pursuing together through the MCX joint venture. Progress, however, suffered from several delays, as well as a hacking episode that occurred the same month Apple Pay launched. MCX was sold to JPMorgan Chase in early 2017.
Roughly a year and a half later, the retailers that had supported CurrentC have had a chance to develop, test, promote and expand their wallet offerings. And more of them are now coming back around to Apple Pay. Loup Ventures said at the beginning of this year that there were about 127 million Apple Pay users at the end of last year.
While overall use of Apple Pay has grown sharply, it still has a long way to go. Loup Ventures also said at the time of its user analysis that Apple Pay was activated on only 16% of iPhones. That figure has been growing slowly, but it indicates Apple Pay still has a lot of potential growth in front of it. Gaining acceptance at more retailers like CVS and 7-Eleven could do wonders for both Apple Pay’s growth track and the bottom lines of retailers that help promote the fact that they accept Apple Pay.
Meanwhile, Walmart is one of the biggest Apple Pay holdouts. An Auriemma Consulting study published this summer noted that Walmart shoppers actually may prefer Apple Pay, but end up spending more through Walmart Pay, at least in part because they receive special discounts and other benefits for doing so.