CVS ditches consortium solution, develops in-house payment app

CVS Health announced the launch of a retail payment app late last week, spurning the Merchant Customer Exchange and flying solo into mobile payments. Aptly named CVS Pay, the feature will be integrated into the current CVS Pharmacy app, allowing customers to pay at in-store checkouts using the app.

CVS Pay supports all major credit and debit cards, and integrates a rewards program, ensuring shoppers get rewarded with points when they shop with the mobile app.

Customers will also be able to manage and pay for their prescriptions through the mobile app, a convenient feature stemming from the in-app integration. Users will now be able to refill, manage, and pay for all pharmacy items through the app, and can receive alerts regarding their prescriptions. All prescription verifications take place within the app, and customers are sent their receipts through the app.

“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,” said Brian Tilzer, senior vice president and chief digital officer of CVS Health. “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.”

Guess the MCX has to update their page...
Guess MCX needs to update its merchant page…

Mobile payment capabilities are currently available at select stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, with a national rollout slated for Q4 2016. The app is available for iOS and Android operating systems.

This move by CVS is another blow to the MCX, a consortium of merchants created to compete with third party wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay. Mired with delays and security issues, CurrentC, the consortium’s retailer app, has still yet to be released, and retailers like CVS and Walmart have chosen to proceed down the in-house mobile app development route.

Retailers are exploring the advantages of developing their own apps, and that may be another reason why companies are leaving MCX. By developing an app from the ground up, merchants can create a tailor-made user experience that wouldn’t be available from a consortium built app.

“Many solutions have become a commodity, making a consortium a thing of the past,” said Or Ben-Oz, founder and CEO of Rewire, a remittance company. “I think that in the future we’ll see more retailers launching their own wallets with perks and experience so well it will be hard to turn down.”

Photo credit: MikeKalasnik via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA