Walgreens Officially Launches First Apple Pay Loyalty Rewards Program

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Popular retailer Walgreens today announced that its Balance Rewards loyalty program can now be linked with Apple Pay and used by its customers across the country. The partnership will allow Apple Pay users to link their Balance Rewards card with the mobile payments service so they can earn and redeem loyalty points without having to scan their physical Walgreens card. Following Kohl's launch of Apple Pay support for its store-branded credit card, Walgreens is the first retailer to support a loyalty rewards program within Apple Pay.

"We're excited to be the first to provide our customers with increased ease of access to their Balance Rewards account and information when using Apple Pay," said Sona Chawla, president of digital and chief marketing officer for Walgreens. "This offering supports our commitment to removing friction and enabling a simple and convenient customer experience."
Users simply need to add their Balance Rewards card into the Wallet app, going through the same process as adding a traditional credit or debit card, to be able to use the new feature at Walgreens on an iPhone and Apple Watch. The announcement comes just over a week after NFC abilities were discovered alongside Balance Rewards cards in the Wallet app, hinting at incoming loyalty rewards support from Walgreens.

Article Link: Walgreens Officially Launches First Apple Pay Loyalty Rewards Program
 
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dbenesch

macrumors newbie
Jun 4, 2002
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Wegmans grocery stores recently updated their iPhone app, and I noticed that their loyalty card in iOS 9 Wallet is now Apple Pay enabled. I'm not sure if it was the app update or the latest iOS 9.2 public beta, but one or both of those enabled it.
 

2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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So how will this work exactly? Will you have to use apple pay to enter your rewards card and then again to pay? Although this is still cool, it would be awesome if there was a way to do this where one Apple Pay "swipe" is needed and takes care of both the rewards and payments. Of course Kohl's does this by having the rewards and the credit card all in one, but I am thinking about all the other reward cards that are not part of a credit card. Anyway, glad to see progress.
 

Parasprite

macrumors 68000
Mar 5, 2013
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I'm glad that we finally have a payment method secure enough that there isn't any (security-related) reason to worry about storing that kind of information at store level.

So how will this work exactly? Will you have to use apple pay to enter your rewards card and then again to pay? Although this is still cool, it would be awesome if there was a way to do this where one Apple Pay "swipe" is needed and takes care of both the rewards and payments. Of course Kohl's does this by having the rewards and the credit card all in one, but I am thinking about all the other reward cards that are not part of a credit card. Anyway, glad to see progress.
Oh, hmm. Maybe this isn't what I thought it was.
 

DingusKhan

macrumors newbie
Sep 29, 2015
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Fishers, IN
In practice, do the rewards program and payment NFC transaction occur simultaneously? Or must the user:

1) select the rewards card from Wallet
2) then execute the rewards NFC transaction
3) then execute a payment NFC transaction

The two-step method isn't horrible, but a simultaneous transaction would be preferred in my opinion.


Edit: Cuban Missles beat me to it.
 
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gsmornot

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Sep 29, 2014
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So how will this work exactly? Will you have to use apple pay to enter your rewards card and then again to pay? Although this is still cool, it would be awesome if there was a way to do this where one Apple Pay "swipe" is needed and takes care of both the rewards and payments. Of course Kohl's does this by having the rewards and the credit card all in one, but I am thinking about all the other reward cards that are not part of a credit card. Anyway, glad to see progress.
Click on the word announced in the article. The first line says "Walgreens Balance® Rewards members can now seamlessly use their account through Apple Pay - without separately scanning a Balance Rewards card or barcode."
 

DingusKhan

macrumors newbie
Sep 29, 2015
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Fishers, IN
Click on the word announced in the article. The first line says "Walgreens Balance® Rewards members can now seamlessly use their account through Apple Pay - without separately scanning a Balance Rewards card or barcode."
I saw that, but I still don't think it's clear. The wording of the announcement leads me to believe that they've just replaced scanning a rewards card (or looking it up by phone number since I never carry mine) with an Apple Pay NFC transaction (but not necessarily a payment transaction).

So to me it seems that the user can use Apple Pay to get provide their rewards program information but then must still execute a payment transaction - NFC or other method.
 
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gsmornot

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Sep 29, 2014
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No more carrying around those stupid reward cards: Albertson's, King Soopers, etc. Now I can see the potential in Apple Pay!
Too bad King Soopers is not on Apple Pay. (or is it in your area?)

I saw that, but I still don't think it's clear. The wording of the announcement leads me to believe that they've just replaced scanning a rewards card (or looking it up by phone number since I never carry mine) with an Apple Pay NFC transaction (but not necessarily a payment transaction).

So to me it seems that the user can use Apple Pay to get provide their rewards program information but then must still execute a payment transaction - NFC or other method.
I'm close to a Walgreens so I will test it today. I'm sure someone else will stop by one first but I still want to try it out.
 
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2457282

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Click on the word announced in the article. The first line says "Walgreens Balance® Rewards members can now seamlessly use their account through Apple Pay - without separately scanning a Balance Rewards card or barcode."
I read the announcement, but to me it is not clear. I am sure as soon as someone tries this out we will get a definitive answer.
 

OldSchoolMacGuy

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Jul 10, 2008
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I'd love to have all rewards cards go this way. I never bother to carry 99% of them as it makes no sense to carry so many cards in your wallet that you may use just once a year.

I saw that, but I still don't think it's clear. The wording of the announcement leads me to believe that they've just replaced scanning a rewards card (or looking it up by phone number since I never carry mine) with an Apple Pay NFC transaction (but not necessarily a payment transaction).

So to me it seems that the user can use Apple Pay to get provide their rewards program information but then must still execute a payment transaction - NFC or other method.
This is exactly how it works. Apple Pay functionality can be used in place of scanning your rewards card. You will still have to use it again if you want to pay using a credit card with Apple Pay or swipe another card.
 
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Iconoclysm

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May 13, 2010
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This simply replaces the need to use a QR code for the card in your wallet - it's nice but still hasn't reached the point where you don't need to swipe two cards. Since I don't have a physical card, I can't tell if you can add this to the Apple Watch but the addition to passbook from the Walgreens app was seamless.
 

gsmornot

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Sep 29, 2014
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This simply replaces the need to use a QR code for the card in your wallet - it's nice but still hasn't reached the point where you don't need to swipe two cards. Since I don't have a physical card, I can't tell if you can add this to the Apple Watch but the addition to passbook from the Walgreens app was seamless.
Its on the watch. When I double click the friends button, the Walgreens card is one of the cards I see. Normally you only see payment cards but this is part of the change.
 

peteo

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2007
224
134
Walgreens continues to keep up with the times, I love it.
Agree, they were the first with apple pay, and now this. CVS is falling behind and I'm choosing to go to Walgreens so I don't need to worry if they get hacked like CVS did and I needed to get my cards changed. CurrentC is dead, move on CVS
 

kghoops

macrumors newbie
Jan 15, 2009
20
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This simply replaces the need to use a QR code for the card in your wallet - it's nice but still hasn't reached the point where you don't need to swipe two cards. Since I don't have a physical card, I can't tell if you can add this to the Apple Watch but the addition to passbook from the Walgreens app was seamless.
Not so. I have not tested yet but I did add my card to my wallet and it has an option screen during setup to "Automatically Select" or "Do Not Automatically Select" the Walgreens card when paying.
 

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gstevie

macrumors 6502
Jul 12, 2009
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Glasgow
It would be good to see Boots UK making the move on this too, considering they are the same company now. They were also the launch partner for Apple Pay in the UK.
 
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peteo

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2007
224
134
This is exactly how it works. Apple Pay functionality can be used in place of scanning your rewards card. You will still have to use it again if you want to pay using a credit card with Apple Pay or swipe another card.
Wish it was smart enough to know its a Walgreens terminal and have it auto use the card when you pay with apple pay. It should be like, Terminal send RF to device, Im a Walgreens terminal. Then Apple pay should be like, Heres my authorization token and my rewards info. (of course have an option in the wallet card to set if you want it to auto do this or not)

EDIT: Well I guess Apple is very smart and they did add this feature...
 

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,395
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Nice. Now make the rewards program more useful. It's difficult to figure out what transactions do and do not qualify for reward points because it varies around the country.
 

sikachu

macrumors newbie
Oct 26, 2007
29
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Wegmans grocery stores recently updated their iPhone app, and I noticed that their loyalty card in iOS 9 Wallet is now Apple Pay enabled. I'm not sure if it was the app update or the latest iOS 9.2 public beta, but one or both of those enabled it.
It should have been the app update. The functionality was always there in iOS 9, but no one utilized it (since you need to update POS, etc.)
 

peteo

macrumors regular
Sep 23, 2007
224
134
Not so. I have not tested yet but I did add my card to my wallet and it has an option screen during setup to "Automatically Select" or "Do Not Automatically Select" the Walgreens card when paying.
Nice Didn't notice this. its also on the card in the wallet app so you can turn that on or off.
 

ghostface147

macrumors 68040
May 28, 2008
3,179
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We just input our phone number for balance rewards while the cashier is scanning the items and then use Apple Pay. Never had a balance rewards card, so I would have no idea how to add one to Wallet. If this does balance rewards and Apple Pay at the same time (waiting for someone to field test it and report back), even better.

It used to be that all of our local Walgreens in Houston would require you to input your pin after using Apple Pay no matter the dollar amount, but that just stopped recently. Weird, but now much more convenient.
 
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