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CVS Will Let You Pay for Prescriptions With Your Phone

August 11, 2016, 4:01 AM UTC
Courtesy of CVS Health

CVS Health is debuting a mobile payment app across several Mid-Atlantic states, a move to streamline the checkout process at the pharmacy counter as well as the front of the retail store.

The pharmacy giant on Thursday said that the new app, called CVS Pay, will integrate payment, prescription pickup and ExtraCare loyalty card functions all in one scan at the checkout. The app is currently available in select stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. CVS (CVS) says that the app, which is available on iOS and Android devices, will work with all major credit cards. A broader national rollout is planned for later this year.

“If we can make it easier and less of a hassle to get through the line or drive thru, we know that will be a big win for our customers,” CVS Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer tells Fortune.

A few of the more innovative retailers are aggressively tackling mobile payment solutions. Coffee giant Starbucks (SBUX) has made great headway into this space, with that company’s mobile app being used for 25% of all transactions. Their push into this space comes as shoppers are more willing to make purchases with their smartphones. A Federal Reserve survey earlier this year found 28% of smartphone users made a mobile payment in the past 12 months, and of those, a third used it to make a purchase in a store.

CVS contends that the mobile app it is debuting this year is more than just a payment solution. The retailer says that customers have the ability to refill and manage prescriptions and get alerts when medicines are ready. Tilzer explained to Fortune that after downloading the app and entering in your personal information and loyalty program details, a single scan can allow an employee at the pharmacy counter to pull up your prescription, apply the loyalty card details to the overall purchase, and process the payment.

Linking the payment and loyalty card functionality is similar to what Starbucks offers with its mobile app. And that’s especially important for CVS as it has 70 million active users for the company’s wildly popular loyalty program. A mobile payment function can help keep those loyal shoppers even more engaged.

The integration will make it easier for CVS to process orders, especially in the drive thru where customers are for now giving employees their ID, credit card and loyalty card. It can also speed up the self-checkout, where shoppers at times input their phone number to get their rewards.

The CVS Pay app is the latest offering from the digital innovation team that is led by Tilzer, who joined CVS three and a half years ago to that newly created position to help CVS think more digitally. Other new functions CVS has added includes a transaction history that makes it easier for shoppers to see what they’ve been buying at CVS. “Our vision with digital is to integrate it into every aspect of the customer and patient experience,” says Tilzer.

But, Tilzer adds, he doesn’t want shoppers that use the app to feel like they are being inundated with marketing and product promotions.

“The experiences that solve real problems are the real winners,” Tilzer said. “Mobile solutions that are focused on unlocking more convenience and saving money—that’s what we are focused on.”