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08.11.16

CVS Pay Aims to Eliminate Checkout Pain

CVS on Thursday (Aug. 11) added its name to the growing list of retailers launching their own in-house mobile payment services. The company’s new CVS Pay offers payments, loyalty and prescription management within the CVS Pharmacy mobile app. The service currently is available in some CVS locations in select markets, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, with a nationwide rollout expected to begin later this year, CVS said.

CVS Pay enables customers to pay for purchases and earn loyalty points via barcode scan. Notably, the pharmacy giant also has integrated an end-to-end prescription management feature into the service. CVS Pay users can refill prescriptions within the app and receive in-app alerts when prescriptions are ready for pickup. CVS Pay will eliminate at least one extra step for members of CVS’s ExtraCare loyalty program. Currently, members have to present a physical ExtraCare card or give their name and birthdate to the cashier. With CVS Pay, customers earn points automatically when paying via the app. Other convenience features include a code for drive-thru prescription pickups, so a customer doesn’t have to hand his/her phone through the window. CVS Pay also is compatible with all major credit and debit cards, as well as Health Savings Account and Flexible Spending Account cards.

But the biggest factor in driving usage of CVS Pay may be the fact that it’s currently the only option CVS customers have to pay via mobile. Unlike competitors Walgreens and Rite Aid, CVS doesn’t support Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay or any other NFC-based mobile payments services. In that way, CVS’s strategy is similar to that of Walmart, which earlier this year unveiled an in-house mobile payment service of its own, Walmart Pay. The retail giant also doesn’t accept any NFC mobile payment service. Although CVS lacks Walmart’s sheer ubiquity, CVS Pay’s tight loyalty integration—similar to that of Starbucks’ successful mobile app—along with the prescription management function, may provide enough value to drive customers to add the service as another mobile payment option on their smartphones.

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