October 27, 2014 – The decision by CVS and Rite Aid to block mobile payments services like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Softcard is anti-consumer and anti-competitive. This decision has nothing to do with convenience, reliability, or security. Rather, published reports indicate this is a deliberate boycott in favor of CurrentC, a mobile payments system supported by large retailers and slated for launch next year. Reports indicate that MCX, the organization behind CurrentC, requires all its participating merchants to block any mobile payments services that compete against CurrentC. Because MCX says its retailers represent 1/5 of total US retail sales, this group boycott could negatively impact consumer choice in the mobile payments marketplace.
Blocking mobile payments providers will deprive consumers of their preferred method of payment and a more innovative, secure way to pay. As the trade association of the payments industry, ETA works with its more than 500 technology and financial industry member companies to advance the deployment of mobile payments. With more than 300 million mobile devices and more than one billion credit and debit cards in American consumers’ pockets, the future ubiquity of mobile payments is certain. We call on Rite Aid and CVS to reconsider their misguided attempt to block this innovation and urge consumers to vote with their wallet – mobile or actual – and shop at retailers that aren’t restricting consumer choice.
The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is the global trade association representing more than 500 payments and technology companies. ETA members make commerce possible by processing more than $4.5 trillion in purchases in the U.S. and deploying payments innovations to merchants and consumers.