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Mobile Communications

CVS launches CVS Pay, plans to roll it out nationwide

CVS has announced CVS Pay inside its existing mobile app that allows customers to pay in store for prescriptions by scanning a barcode at the register.

Payments will be backed by a customer’s credit or debit card, the company said Thursday.

CVS Pay is currently available in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware; a nationwide rollout at all 9,600 stores is expected to kick off later this year.

CVS doesn’t support Apple Pay or other NFC-based payment technologies, and its use of barcodes for payments is reminiscent of the way Starbucks customers pay for coffee. Working with the barcode technology was a faster way for CVS to bring forward technology for more convenient in-store payments, analysts said.

Other retailers have created in-store payments through their own apps. Walmart created Walmart Pay in December to allow payments through mobile device QR codes that can be read at checkout registers.

“There’s nothing really innovative here with CVS Pay,” said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan on Friday. “They are pretty much following the trend. It’s just mobile commerce with a credit card attached. It’s no big deal to put a credit card in a wallet.”

At one point, CVS was working with Walmart and dozens of other major retailers in the Merchant Customer Exchange, which was designed to process mobile payments electronically through bank accounts and not credit cards to cut out the card processing cost that merchants paid to banks. But MCX ended its pilot of its mobile app, CurrentC, in June. Analysts have predicted the concept will not continue.

IDG Insider

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