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Rite Aid to Begin Accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Apple Pay
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

National drugstore chain Rite Aid said it will begin accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet at all of its 4,600 stores, starting Saturday.

The retailer was the focus of some serious customer backlash last fall, when it shut down support for Apple Pay. That's because the drugstore chain was among the retailers committed to the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is testing its own mobile payment service, CurrentC. However, the exclusivity terms that bound members of MCX are beginning to expire.

A Rite Aid spokesperson said the drugstore chain remains a "strong supporter" of CurrentC and that it plans to accept this form of mobile payment when it becomes available nationwide. It couched the announcement as a customer benefit. A spokesperson for the Merchant Customer Exchange could not immediately be reached for comment.

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"By accepting mobile payments, we're able to offer Rite Aid customers an easy and convenient checkout process, which we know is important to them. Investing in mobile technologies is just one piece of Rite Aid's evolving digital strategy and we will continue to explore, test and implement innovative technologies that will help us to better serve our valued customers," said Rite Aid CEO Ken Martindale.

This marks a coup for Apple, which has announced that other major retailers, including Best Buy, Dunkin' Donuts and Kohl's, also have committed to rolling out support of its mobile payment service.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said during the company's recent earnings call that Apple Pay will be accepted at some 1.5 million retail locations in the U.S. by the end of the year.

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MCX's new chief executive, Brian Mooney, issued a statement saying that more than 70 consumer brands support CurrentC.

"We understand — and strongly support — our merchant partners' efforts to do what they feel makes the most sense for their particular business," Mooney said. "As we have stated in the past, the mobile payments market is still in its infancy and remains wide open."

By Dawn Chmielewski, Re/code.net.

CNBC's parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code's parent Revere Digital, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

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