According to MacRumors, CVS and Rite Aid are both nuking unofficial support for Apple Pay, by turning off their NFC payments system altogether. According to an internal memo, the sour grapes is because Rite Aid is working on its own mobile wallet solution, which will be available next year and almost certainly not as successful as Apple Pay.
The system CVS and Rite Aid reportedly may be favoring is called CurrentC, which uses QR codes rather than NFC to process payments. It's being organized by a group called MCX, which is composed of the two drug store chains already mentioned in addition to heavy hitters like Lowe's, Publix, Old Navy, Walmart, Best Buy, and more.
The main driver behind CurrentC, as TechCrunch reports, is to give retail chains a way to bypass credit card fees in favor of the less onerous fees that come from direct bank account payments. Apple Pay and other NFC payment systems merely make the existing credit card system easier; CurrentC would attempt to circumvent it entirely.
While a CurrentC app is current available in both Google Play and the App Store, you won't be able to use them until it's up and running in stores, which reportedly won't be until next year. And while a QR code-based payments systems seems absurd on the face of it (as do all things QR code-based), the number of top stores backing it will give it instant reach, if not credibility. Most of all, its existence stands to slow down Apple Pay—and other NFC payment solutions—significantly, without providing any clear gain to consumers. The real question may not be if it'll take off, but how long they'll keep holding up the fun for the rest of us while they try to keep a few bucks out of MasterCard's pockets. [MacRumors]