Does CVS Take Apple Pay? (In Store & The App)

How Exactly Does Apple Pay Work at CVS? Here's 8 things you'll want to know
Does CVS Take Apple Pay? (In Store & The App)
It might surprise some people that this is a question, but there’s a reason why people aren’t sure if CVS accepts Apple Pay!
CVS was using Apple Pay in 2014, but that year, it disabled the NFC (near field communication) readers in its stores. These readers were what allowed people to use Apple Pay for quick checkouts, so removing the readers meant that they were no longer accepting Apple Pay.
The reason this happened was that, shortly after, CVS launched CVS Pay, a barcode-based payment system that allowed customers to use their smartphones to make payments at checkout.
However, that was in 2014. Does CVS take Apple Pay now?

So Does CVS Take Apple Pay?

Let’s get the big question out of the way: yes, CVS takes Apple Pay!

They’ve been accepting it for purchases since 2018. You might come across some stores that haven’t updated to accept it yet, but as of 2022, approximately 8,600 of its 9,600 stores in the US accept it.
If you run into a location that doesn’t accept it yet, chances are they will soon!

How Exactly Does Apple Pay Work at CVS?

CVS stations accepting Apple Pay will offer it at pharmacy counters, standard checkout counters, and self-checkout stations. So no matter where you’re making your purchase, you’ll be able to do it in no time!

If you’ve used Apple Pay before, you probably have a guess about how it works here. If you’re not familiar with Apple Pay, don’t worry – we’ll walk you thought it!

Steps To Use Apple Pay at CVS

Before making any purchases, you’ll want to make sure your Apple pay account is set up with a valid credit/debit card. Once that’s done, payment is simple:

  1. Let the cashier know that you’ll be using Apple Pay for your purchase
  2. Double-click the side button of your phone to pull up your default card
  3. Either authenticate with Face ID, or enter your passcode
  4. Hold the top of your phone near the reader
  5. When a checkmark appears on your screen, your payment has been processed
Nothing to it!

What about the Pharmacy, Checkout, and Self-Checkout?

Because CVS accepts Apple Pay at the pharmacy counter, standard checkout counter, and self-service checkout station, you can use Apple Pay at all of them.

Both the pharmacy and standard checkout counter will work like the process outlined above, but self-checkout will be slightly different.

Don’t worry, it’s actually even simpler!

When you make your purchase at a self-checkout station, you’ll be able to see if it accepts Apple Pay if there’s an NFC icon somewhere on the screen or machine: this icon usually looks sort of like a WiFi signal turned on its side.

To pay, you’ll select the “card” option, pull up and authenticate your default card, hold the top of your phone near the scanner, and wait until the checkmark appears. Easy, right?

What Payment Methods Does CVS Accept?

In addition to cash, CVS accepts all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express) and debit cards for payment. CVS also offers the ability to pay with PayPal and Venmo in-store, for more touch-free payment options.

You can also use an EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card at your CVS, and you can pay for medical expenses using an FSA (Flexible Spending Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account) card.

Lastly, there are also several cards offered by CVS that you can use to make purchases, or get benefits from purchases, including:

  • CVS Pharmacy Rewards – a card that allows you to get 2% cash back on select products, and lets you earn points on every payment that go towards making later payments
  • CVS ExtraCare – a free membership card with personalized offers, and a similar credit point system
  • CVS Gift Cards – standard gift cards that can be used in CVS stores

Can I Use Apple Pay on and the App?

Here’s where things get a little confusing.

You can use Apple Pay for in-store purchases, but what about online purchases, or in-app purchases?

Unfortunately, CVS does not accept Apple Pay for either online or in-app purchases.

For these purchases, you need to register credit or debit card information either at time of purchase, or when you set up an account.

You can’t use checks, pre-paid cards, gift cards, PayPal cards, or Apple Pay for these purchases.

Are There Fees for Using Apple Pay?

Great news: no, there are no fees for using Apple Pay at CVS!

Some people worry that there are hidden processing or transaction fees involved with using Apple Pay, but don’t worry, there’s no additional charge.

There’s actually a way to get cashback for your purchases!

Can You Get Cash Back When You Use Apple Pay?

If you have a Discover Card as your Apple Pay method, you can get 1% cashback on purchases made at CVS through Apple Pay using a Discover Cashback Debit Card.

CVS lets you get up to $35 cashback in-store when using a debit card!

Final Thoughts

You might understand now why some people have been wondering, “Does CVS have Apple Pay?”.

Due to the fact that they paused accepting it in 2014 before accepting it again in 2018, and the fact that they only allow it for in-store purchases, it’s not as black-and-white as you’d expect!

On the whole, you can expect to easily use Apple Pay for any in-store purchase. If you see the NFC reader at the pharmacy, standard checkout counter, or self-checkout station, you’re good to go!

Online or in-app purchases don’t accept Apple Pay currently, and require a credit or debit card.

You can also look forward to cashback benefits using the Discover Cashback Debit Card!

Whether you’re using an iPhone or Apple Watch, you can head into CVS knowing that you’ll be able to make a quick, easy, touch-free purchase using Apple Pay!

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