The checkout line at CVS is about to move a lot more quickly.
The popular drugstore announced Thursday it’s now accepting Apple Pay at all U.S. locations. The payment system will work at both the pharmacy and regular checkout lines.
CVS had long refrained from adopting Apple Pay since it launched in 2015, but now it seems that three years later, enough has changed to sway the company in the other direction. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in July during a quarterly earnings call that CVS would join its long list of merchants who use Apple Pay.
For years, CVS was a supporter of a major competitor to Apple Pay called Current C, which was created by companies that include Target and Walmart. But the competing platform was riddled with issues from the start, and its reliance on QR codes made it more cumbersome than Apple’s “tap-to-pay” NFC technology. In 2017, JP Morgan bought Current C, effectively killing the platform.
CVS also avoided Apple Pay by encouraging customers to use its own app that included an in-app payment option called CVS Pay. Much like Current C, its own payment method used a QR code generated on a customer’s smartphone.
I briefly used Apple Pay at CVS today, and I’m happy to report that it worked flawlessly. I noticed the graphics on the payment processor were updated to include the new payment option, and employees at the story I visited in New Jersey were surprised to see me using it. I told them what I tell everyone: It’s actually super easy to use and my preferred payment method when available.
CVS will join BestBuy, Duane Reade, Kohls, and Staples as some of the large U.S. retailers who accept the payment method. Considering that one of CVS’s biggest rivals — Walgreens — has used Apple Pay for a while, it seems like a smart move for CVS to enable it.
Though Apple Pay may finally make it easier and quicker to check out, it’s a shame it won’t do anything for those super-long receipts.