Rite Aid, which incurred considerable customer wrath last year when it nixed support for Apple Pay at checkout, has backpedaled. The drugstore announced that, as of next Saturday, it will again accept Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Rite Aid’s decision is bad news for CurrentC, a clunky retailer-backed rival to Apple Pay and Google Wallet that has yet to launch.
When the New York Times looked into why companies were dropping Apple Pay support last year, it noted something important: CurrentC was backed by the Merchant Consumer Exchange (MCX), a retail consortium that has exclusivity terms for members including Rite Aid. But it appears the product has had issues getting off the ground, despite claims that it will go live later this year: The MCX has skirted the question of an exact launch date with both the press and industry analysts. Early reviews of a beta version of the app point to a product based on QR codes that may not appeal to customers.
“By accepting mobile payments, we’re able to offer Rite Aid customers an easy and convenient checkout process, which we know is important to them,” Rite Aid CEO Ken Martindale said in a statement. “Investing in mobile technologies is just one piece of Rite Aid’s evolving digital strategy and we will continue to explore, test, and implement innovative technologies that will help us to better serve our valued customers.”
According to the New York Times, the first of the MCX’s CurrentC contracts expired this year. Retailers like Best Buy, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Kohl’s have also pledged their support for Apple Pay, Re/code notes.
In a statement, MCX CEO Brian Mooney told Fast Company the following:
Our 70-plus consumer brands–some of the largest, most successful brands in the world–remain strong supporters of CurrentC. We have recognized from the beginning that some would accept more than one mobile payment option. We understand–and strongly support–our merchant partners’ efforts to do what they feel makes the most sense for their particular business. As we have stated in the past, the mobile payments market is still in its infancy and remains wide open.