Want to use Apple Pay or Google Wallet? Avoid Rite Aid

Payments were initially accepted at Apple Pay's launch on Monday, but appear to have been blocked by the retailer

Apple Pay in operation

An iPhone 6 being used to make an NFC payment via Apple Pay.

Credit: Martyn Williams/IDG News Service

Days after the launch of Apple Pay, Rite Aid has stopped accepting the payment system at 4,600 stores across the United States.

The company, which is one of the biggest drug store chains in the country, said it is currently not accepting Apple Pay or the competing Google Wallet.

Posts from customers on Twitter indicated that Apple Pay worked successfully when the system launched on Monday, but it was subsequently disabled by the retailer later in the week.

The reason for the decision isn't clear.

Two company spokespeople failed to return numerous calls made on Thursday and Friday, although the company's customer service department confirmed the 'tap-and-go' payment systems were not currently welcome.

"We just can't take it at this time," a representative said when asked for details.

It's also unclear if the retailer has disabled all NFC payment ability on its terminals, thus also rejecting debit and credit cards with built-in NFC chips, or if it is actively identifying and blocking just those payments made with Apple and Google systems.

While Rite Aid isn't commenting on the move, some have linked the decision to the company's membership in Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a mobile wallet app backed by a consortium of retailers that "lets customers securely save, earn participating merchant loyalty points and pay."

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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