After CVS and Rite Aid blocked Apple Pay, Schubert law firm launches antitrust investigation

The law firm Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe LLP launched an investigation today into the conduct of retail pharmacies CVS and Rite Aid over their decision to block contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, in their retail stores. The firm is currently considering a potential class action to restore Apple Pay service at CVS and Rite Aid stores and would like to hear from consumers affected by the pharmacies’ decision.

CVS and Rite Aid have long allowed contactless payments at their retail stores, but less than one week after Apple, Inc. deployed Apple Pay, the large retail pharmacy chains disabled those system to prohibit the payment method.

According to the New York Times, this decision was predicated on CVS and Rite Aid’s membership in the so-called Merchant Customer Exchange (“MCX”), which includes retail big-box stores like Walmart and Best Buy. Instead of allowing Apple Pay or Google Wallet, the MCX has developed its own payment system to get around the fees charged by the credit-card companies.

But unlike Apple Pay, the MCX’s system, called CurrentC, has serious drawbacks for consumers. Aside from the fact that it is not yet even available for public use, most importantly, the system doesn’t allow credit cards. Accordingly to security experts, it is also less secure than Apple’s service and could put consumer financial information at risk. In recent months, big-box retailers like Target and Home Depot have experienced massive security breaches, resulting in million of stolen credit cards. MCX even disclosed last week that an early trial of CurrentC has already exposed personal information to unauthorized third parties.

CurrentC’s system may also be less convenient than NFC-based systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, because it requires consumers to download a separate app and scan barcodes to make a payment. CurrentC will also collect information about consumers’ purchases and may share that information with other MCX partners.

Under the terms of the MCX, as reported by the New York Times, the MCX contractual agreement prohibits its member retailers from accepting competing payment methods, including Apple Pay.

In light of this situation, Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe is investigating whether CVS and Rite Aid violated the antitrust laws by banding together with other MCX members in a decision to boycott Apple Pay. Consumers with phones that support Apple Pay may be able to participate in a class action to restore the service at CVS and Rite Aid retail stores.

If you own an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or Android phone with Google Wallet and have attempted to use Apple Pay or Google Wallet at CVS or Rite Aid (or would like to do so), please contact Noah Schubert via email at , by phone at 415-788-4220, or fill out the form on our website at

MacDailyNews Take: Slowly, but surely, the screws turn.

Boycott non-cash payment systems from any company that willfully turns off NFC in an effort to block the vastly more secure, much more private, and far easier-to-use Apple Pay service.

Related article:
Sorry, Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid et al. — Apple Pay and NFC have already won – November 4, 2014


      1. I think that the high interest rates on most credit cards more than covers the cost of fraud. The spreads between credit card interest rates and the rates of various financial vehicles – treasuries, bonds, CDs, savings accounts, and checking accounts, to name a few – are unreal. I believe that my savings account yields 0.2%, which is about 10% of inflation. The best credit cards charge 7.9%, and most charge 16% to 23% with fancy compounding to enhance interest revenue. In addition, most credit cards include a substantial annual fee.

        The merchants actually have a valid gripe against the credit card companies. But blocking Apple Pay was not the right approach. Instead, MCX should launch its own credit card to compete with them. The group appears to have the resources necessary to do that.

    1. One presumes it would be ok if banks that are part of the credit card network are contractually obliged to only process dealings through the Visa/MasterCard/American Express processing infrastructure and not accept payment through QR related processes. No thought not. One certainly presumes that if the banks generally are losing earnings in one direction they will make it up elsewhere, wonder who will be paying for that if its not the retailers. Can’t see how the consumers are going to benefit from this little spat but the card companies are likely to be the better option in both terms of financial and personal information loss, unless the retailers magically give up some of their gain to customers which at best will be ‘pay us more and we will give you a little back’ and expect you to be grateful.

      1. perhaps..I just recall banks “selling” cards here in America as cheaper than using paper checks, that the automation would decrease the cost per transaction once we all got on board. Sure didn’t turn out that way.

        1. But guess what? The CVS’s and Rite Aids’s of this world are not gonna make the product cheaper by the amount of the charged fee’s.

          In one case the fee’s go out of your pocket and into the Banks Pocket then back into your pocket. Most cards offer extended warranties on products you buy, cash back or Air Miles etc.

          In the other case expect the money to flow into the drug companies pockets. End of line right there.You will not see them again.

          So I prefer credit card fees. Many a time I have had my Apple products covered out of Apple warranty just because I purchased using a credit card.

  1. Done. I really am stuck because CVS has my prescriptions until I’ve used all the refills. I’ll gladly join a class-action. If my card information is stolen from them, I’ll have real damages that a simple year of credit monitoring won’t fix because I tried to use Apple Pay and was blocked. CVS better be listening.

    1. Don’t be silly. If you transfer your Rx’s to Walgreens, for example, if your refills don’t transfer over (and who says they don’t?), then Walgreens just contacts the doctor/s for those refills. Done easily by good ole fax. The types of drugs that require paper scripts often don’t allow refills in the first place.

  2. The contention that accepting another form of payment is in violation of their standing agreement. As it stands, they WERE accepting alternate payments on NFC prior to ApplePay being released. It was ONLY ApplePay that caused them to turn off their NFC readers.

  3. Schubert Jonckheer & Kolbe just did those stores a BIG favor.

    Now they have an excuse to bow out of the insane project MCX and will be able to say to one constituency that they were forced and to another that they really do love consumers and want to help them live in a frictionless safe world 🙂

  4. So basically if the law firm is able to ‘prove’ CVS and Rite Aid in the wrong, the stores can be forced to re-implement the NFC services? Sounds like a bad precedent to me…

  5. Class action suit? Really? They’re going to have a bitch of a time claiming harm. Companies have a right to pick what payment options they will and won’t accept. The injured parties here aren’t consumers, but credit card companies and Apple and Google which are locked out. Consumers are very slightly inconvenienced in a way that a month ago they were not convenienced. Don’t get me wrong. I love Apple Pay and want it to succeed. But this is just a law firm money grubbing.

  6. Some irony here that MDN encourages folks to join this ‘ambulance chasing’ class-action lawsuit, when it is the costs of fighting and defending meritless cases in court that adds onsiderably to the basic cost of products and services.

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