For most people, it is still a novelty to pay for things by just waving their smartphones. However, most retailers are scrambling to prepare for what could actually turn out to be a major change in the way consumers purchase everyday items. Best Buy recently made an announcement that it has now started accepted payments made via Apple Pay for purchases that are made within its smartphone application. It also said that by the end of the year it will also start accepting payments made by its customers in its physical or brick-and-mortar stores through the Apple Pay mobile wallet.
A statement was made by a spokesman of Best Buy highlighting that it was the aim of the electronics retailer to give customers as many options as possible for paying for their purchase of goods and services. It is also in the company’s plans to open a technology innovation office in the area of Seattle for working on the mobile technology issues, as said by the spokesman. As opposed to a few months ago, this is a huge reversal as major retailers like CVS and Rite-Aid had shut off their ability of accepting payments via Apple Pay in their retail stores.
As far as Best Buy has concerned, it hadn’t started accepting payments through this system as yet so it is the first time it would be doing so. The issue isn’t whether the companies want a mobile wallet system to become popular. Years ago, more than 50 retailers, which included prominent names such as Best Buy, Walmart and Gap had begun to work together for developing CurrentC, a payment product based on smartphones, which is still in development. The aim was that for members of the MCX or Merchant Customer Exchange to accept payments via their mobile app and use it for understanding the shopping habits of their customers in a better way.
They could also avoid paying the high fees that have to be given when credit card transactions are made. However, at the debut of Apple Pay, the retail partners of the consortium were contractually bound not to accept any other payment method. This means that even though CurrentC is still being developed, the partners weren’t free to accept payment methods such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay. People with knowledge of the matter said that some of these exclusivity agreements will soon come to an end, which could explain why Best Buy has announced its acceptance of Apple Pay in this year.
The chief operating officer at MCX, Scott Rankin, said in a statement that Best Buy remained a partner in their agreement and that they were still working on developing the CurrentC. He said that they understood the needs of the merchants for providing their customers with the best possible services and said that the only way for the mobile payment ecosystem to survive is if it has about 2 to 3 players competing in it. This highlighted the change in the position of the group last October.