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Mobile payments get easier at Rite Aid

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CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. announced that all of the company’s nearly 4,600 stores nationwide will accept mobile payments, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

The drug chain began accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet payments as of August 15. Rite Aid said it also will accept Google’s forthcoming Android Pay when that payment system becomes available. All Rite Aid stores will also accept tap-and-pay credit and debit cards.

“Increasingly, consumers are actively seeking out and incorporating mobile technology into many facets of their life, including their shopping and purchasing decisions,” remarked Ken Martindale, chief executive officer of Rite Aid Stores and president of Rite Aid Corp. “By accepting mobile payments, we’re able to offer Rite Aid customers an easy and convenient checkout process, which we know is important to them.

“Investing in mobile technologies is just one piece of Rite Aid’s evolving digital strategy, and we will continue to explore, test and implement innovative technologies that will help us to better serve our valued ­customers.”

Payments for retail purchases through smartphone apps represent a tiny fraction of transactions for the $2 trillion worth of goods and services that pass through retail establishments and banks each year in the United States, but analysts expect that digital wallet transactions will likely grow to represent about 6% of total card transactions — the majority being small-ticket purchases made online or within apps — by 2018.

Apple Pay, the leader in the mobile payments business, is accepted at more than 700,000 of the roughly 8 million merchant locations in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the first public tests of a new mobile payment application backed by some of the nation’s best-known merchants are about to begin.

Merchant Customer Exchange — a partnership among more than five-dozen companies, including Rite Aid, Walmart, Target, Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants Inc. and CVS Health — will be tested in some of the partners’ stores in Columbus, Ohio, in the coming weeks.

The app being deployed by the exchange, dubbed CurrentC, differs from other mobile payment systems in linking directly to users’ checking accounts, gift cards or private-label debit and credit cards to bypass the fees associated with credit cards. Shoppers scan a code at the checkout and pay with their phones.

Systems operated by Apple and Google, however, link to a user’s credit card information. Apple Pay, for instance, stores users’ credit card information on their smartphones and verifies the purchaser using a fingerprint scanner.


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