It’s aptly called CVS Pay, and it shows a barcode on the phone screen that the pharmacy can then scan to ring up your purchases, so long as you link a credit or a debit card to it.
You can also present the barcode to pick up prescriptions that you can refill and manage in-app, as well as to rack up loyalty points. No need to present your physical rewards card at the counter anymore.
You also don’t have to physically hand over your phone for a drive-through pick-up, since the service generates a five-digit code you can tell the personnel.
CVS Pay lives within the company’s Pharmacy app. If you’re in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, you either have to download the app or update it to start using the payment service.
However, retailers’ resistance to adopt Apple Pay and similar services is making life harder for customers.
There was once a time when buying something in a store was simple. You would give a cashier some money or swipe a card, and you’d get your thing and maybe some change and a receipt and be on your way.
No longer. A plethora of new mobile payment services and apps has left the retail process a confusing mess. Should I swipe or dip my card? Do you accept Apple Pay? What about my rewards points? Oh, forget it, where’s your ATM?
On some level it’s understandable that retailers might want to maintain their own mobile wallet apps. The data those apps collect is surely invaluable. And Apple Pay has been slow to incorporate retailers’ rewards programs, though that’s slowly changing.
CVS’ app has features that streamline the pharmacy process, which sound like something Apple should include in its own software, given its newfound focus on healthcare.
“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,” said CVS Health SVP and Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer in a statement announcing the app.