CVS Pay Aims to Rival Apple, Google

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Nearly two years after ditching Apple Pay, CVS Health launched its own end-to-end mobile payment solution.

The cleverly named CVS Pay allows customers to make payments, pick up prescriptions, and earn ExtraCare loyalty points with one scan at the checkout.

CVS Pay is currently available in select markets in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware; a nationwide rollout is expected later this year, with support for iOS and Android devices and all major credit, debit, Health Savings Account, and Flexible Spending Account cards.

The new mobile payment system should be especially handy for those who get their prescriptions filled at CVS Pharmacy. You can refill and manage prescriptions on your smartphone from the store's mobile app, and receive notifications on your handset when prescriptions are ready.

Once at the store, an associate will scan the app's unique barcode and ring up the purchase, letting you choose a preferred payment method from those stored in the app, without ever touching your wallet. All verifications for prescriptions and payment—name, birthdate, signature, PIN—take place within the app, where you'll receive confirmation of the purchase.

"Over the past year, our digital team has brought to market numerous new digital tools like CVS Pay that make shopping at CVS Pharmacy easier and more convenient," Brian Tilzer, senior vice president and chief digital officer of CVS Health, said in a statement. "We've been excited by the level of customer adoption of these digital solutions, and we will continue our quick pace of innovation and deployment to make our customers' health care experience even easier."

In October 2014, CVS and fellow pharmacy chain Rite Aid dropped support for Apple Pay, saying at the time that they were "evaluating mobile payment options" for customers.

The reasons for shunning Cupertino's then-highly anticipated service were unclear, though reports tipped rival service CurrentC, still under development by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). The near-field communications payment platform, meant to take on Apple and Google's services, kicked the bucket in June, without much explanation from MCX.

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