CVS is (again) taking the long road to Apple Pay with — wait for it — CVS Pay

CVS is (again) taking the long road to Apple Pay with — wait for it — CVS Pay
Credit: Barclays

CVS is creating its own mobile payment solution, again distancing itself from Apple Pay.

Rather than adopt a mobile payment solution like Apple or Android Pay, CVS wants to streamline the experience of picking up a prescription and paying. In its app (cleverly called CVS Pay), the retail pharmacy chain will cobble together rewards and payment options, including flexible or health spending accounts.

Brian Tilzer, CVS Health’s Chief Digital Officer, tells TechCrunch it’s about simplicity:

What we’re trying to do is provide real utility and solve real problems for customers using digital. With one scan, we’re taking away three or four extra steps that customers have lived with for a long time.

It has to be more than just payments. The value is in combining a couple of these things, and the examples in the market where that has happened have worked really well.


It makes a good bit of sense, but also feels like overkill. CVS’ largest competitor, Walgreens, makes its Balance Rewards card available via the Wallet app for iOS, and uses Apple Pay for payment processing. In my experience, it’s as simple as the cashier scanning the pass and me using Apple Pay to complete the transaction.

CVS thinks its own solution is a winner, though. It’s definitely a bit more streamlined, but I’m doubtful customers will want yet another app or service with their credit card information. The company isn’t swearing off Apple Pay altogether — it’s just putting all of its eggs into its own basket.

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