Mobile Commerce

Walgreens’ Loyalty Rewards Go The Apple Pay Way

It would appear that Apple’s claims that Apple Pay on iOS 9 would support retailers’ store-branded credit cards and loyalty rewards cards are coming to fruition.

On Tuesday (Oct. 27), while Kohl’s officially became the first retailer to launch Apple Pay capability for its store-branded credit card, there are indications that Walgreens may not be far behind. In addition to the fact that members of Walgreens’ Balance Rewards loyalty program have been able, for some time now, to sign into their accounts using the Walgreens iOS app and add the account numbers to Apple’s Wallet (previously Passbook) app, MacRumors shares that the Balance Rewards card in the Apple Wallet is, in many user-reported cases, now showing up as supporting NFC via Apple Pay.

Users have shared with the outlet that when they open Apple Wallet on their iPhones — as well as on an Apple Watch — they are offered access to their Balance Rewards pass, where they are then prompted to engage in a transaction with an Apple Pay reader (an optional barcode for scanning their Balance Rewards number is also provided).

All that being said, the users who shared this information with MacRumors have been unable to engage in a successful transaction using their seemingly Apple Pay-ready Balance Rewards card at Walgreens locations (using either the iPhone or the Apple Watch). MacRumors reports to have attempted the same transaction itself and was unable to. The outlet surmises that the remaining issue is that payment terminals at those store locations have yet to be upgraded to accept Apple Pay.

Given the number of reported appearances of Balance Rewards integration with Apple Pay on the user end, however, it remains likely that the capability loop will be closed on Walgreens’ end — although the specific date that that may occur remains unknown at this time.

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