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Retailers Take a Bite out of Apple Pay
By: Jennifer Graber
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The launch of Apple Pay last week drew much excitement. The technology giant, Apple, boasted that your iPhone would replace your wallet. Your phone would be your communication, information source, payment portal — basically all you would need. You could put away the cash and credit cards, and just carry a form of identification. Just imagine how light that would make our bags and purses. Talk about downsizing. However, do not get excited yet. Apple Pay has hit a few roadblocks in its recent unveiling.
When Apple announced the release of Apple Pay some retailers, like Walmart and Best Buy, declared they did not have intentions of adopting it. And now other retailers have joined the ranks. Drug store retailers CVS and Rite Aid previously allowed customers to make purchases via Apple Pay. However, this past week both drug stores put a stop to that. Patrons of CVS and Rite Aid will no longer be able to use Apple Pay for purchases for an undetermined amount of time.
Some say that the discontinuation of Apple Pay at CVS and Rite Aid is due to a contractual agreement the retailers have with another mobile payment system. The mobile payment system in question, CurrentC, is in development and is based on a QR code rather than an NFC chip. Users of the CurrentC system link their banking and credit information to the account. When a user wishes to pay with this system, they scan the QR code generated at the point-of-sale to complete the transaction.
CurrentC’s development is due in part to avoid fees retailers pay to credit card companies, and these fees are something that retailers must face with Apple Pay. This sounds like a case of “just wait, I am going to show you, HA.”
Additionally, the CurrentC system works more seamlessly with current technologies than Apple Pay. Apple Pay requires more retailers to upgrade technology and equipment. This could be problematic if they simply do not have the funds, or the funds would best be directed elsewhere. The availability is quite limited at this point, with only a portion of retailers being ready for consumers to use Apple Pay.
It sounds as if Apply Pay is not being as embraced as the company envisioned it would. Perhaps it is a case of waiting for the bugs to be sorted out. There appears to be a trend among users of Apple products. There are those who jump right in. They wait in line for the next version of the iPhone. They refresh their updates page for the newest software. And then there is the rest of the technology world. There are those who are Apple fans through and through. However, they tend to lag behind just a bit. They wait for kinks to be worked out. They anticipate challenges with the new product or software, and wait the fixes to be released.
Apple Pay is certainly no exception. It could be that reluctant retailers are expecting problems (and they would be wise to). Thus, the retailers want to wait. And when Apple Pay has everything sorted properly, more will jump on the bandwagon. But there is that matter of sticking it to the man — I mean, the credit card companies. Retailers have had enough of paying fees to the credit companies. So who will have to fold in this game? Will retailers have to accept the power of the technology giant? Or will Apple have to cave and figure out a way to appease retailers?

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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