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Pharmacy chain Rite Aid on Tuesday annnounced that starting August 15, all of its U.S. stores will begin offering Apple Pay and other wireless payment options, marking a turnaround for a company that last year intentionally blocked Apple's mobile payment system.
Aside from Apple Pay, Rite Aid will be accepting Google Wallet and various tap-and-pay cards. When it launches alongside Android M later this year, Android Pay will likewise become an option. Rite Aid has almost 4,600 stores across the country.
In October 2014, Rite Aid and fellow pharmacy chain CVS briefly supported Apple Pay, but then suddenly shut off access. Both companies are a part of the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, which is developing its own payment platform called CurrentC. A trial run of the technology could begin as soon as this month.
MCX has imposed exclusivity agreements on its members, but Bloomberg sources previously said that these should be ending in August, which may explain Rite Aid's timing. Another MCX member, Best Buy, said in April that it would have Apple Pay by the end of the year.
Though Apple Pay has encountered its share of adoption problems, it remains one of the most popular mobile payment methods and thus may be considered essential to support, regardless of previous agreements.
CurrentC will allow supporting retailers to minimize fees paid to financial services while simultaneously holding on to more customer data than something like Apple Pay. For the customers themselves, though, CurrentC uses a less convenient QR code system, and requires linking either a store-issued card or a checking account.