Retailers want to keep Apple Pay out of retail
Apple Pay is the golden child of the payments industry right now. It’s seen as the beacon of hope to mobile payment adoption, and a true catalyst to creating a world that embraces NFC payments.
However all is not golden, especially in the United States where some of the biggest merchants are blocking the technology in favour of their own.
Retailers like Walmart, Kmart, 7-Eleven, and Best Buy are in direct competition with Apple Pay due to working on their own mobile payments app known as CurrentC. It may not be out yet, but already they aren’t supporting Apple Pay and seem to be showing no signs of doing so either.
Reported in The Wall Street Journal Best Buy confirmed that customers would not be able to use Apple Pay in its stores. The same seems to be the case with Rite Aid who, due to a leaked internal document that was then confirmed by iMore, also have plans to disable NFC readers for customers using Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other NFC reliant payment services. Instead, Rite Aid will support CurrentC on launch.
So, while this could have initially been construed as a protest to Apple not providing valuable customer data to merchants, it instead seems to be a case of a power blockade so CurrentC can still make money and take customer data when it launches next year.
Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple reacts. While it could sit back and do nothing, hoping that consumer demand for Apple Pay support will sway prospective retailers; Apple could also block any other payment application from the App Store, making things incredibly tricky for merchants who only support CurrentC mobile payments.
Currently, CurrentC has over 40 retail partners including brands like Shell, Wendy’s, Walmart, Target, Gap, Old Navy, and Sears. It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if they all went the way of Rite Aid and only accepted CurrentC contactless payments.
So far Apple Pay is only formally supported by around 30 retailers – albeit with a lot of in-app supporters too – so perhaps the brick and mortar landscape isn’t so important for Apple after all.