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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Walgreens brings Balance Reward loyalty card to Apple Pay

Walgreens brings Balance Reward loyalty card to Apple Pay
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NewsPoster
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Nov 6, 2015, 07:59 AM
 
Walgreens has become the first major retailer in the United States to integrate its customer loyalty scheme with Apple Pay. The announcement means that members of the Balance Rewards program can now participate in the scheme, having their rewards card accepted as part of the same contactless payment transaction used for Apple Pay itself, without requiring a second scan or presenting the membership card to store staff.

Members can add the Balance Rewards card to the Wallet app within iOS 9, and then performing a contactless payment as normal on an iPhone. Apple Watch users will need to select their Balance Rewards card before performing the transaction, in order for the card to be used.



"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 president of digital and chief marketing officer for Walgreens Sona Chawla. "This offering supports our commitment to removing friction and enabling a simple and convenient customer experience."

There are currently more than 85 million active Balance Rewards members throughout the United States, with more than 8 million customer interactions with the retailer's 8,173 drug stores performed each day. While Walgreens is the first to add its loyalty card to Apple Pay, Kohl's became the first to enable its store credit card to work with the payment service last week.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Nov 6, 2015 at 09:00 AM. )
     
jasonsRX7
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Nov 6, 2015, 11:51 AM
 
Doesn't work, though. Can't add the card to Wallet.
     
pairof9s
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Nov 6, 2015, 02:02 PM
 
jasonsRX7, I was able to add my card and this morning, used it without a problem. (iOS 9.1 on iPhone 6)
     
jasonsRX7
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Nov 6, 2015, 02:30 PM
 
Still not working for me, also iOS 9.1 on an iPhone 6.
     
jasonsRX7
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Nov 6, 2015, 02:38 PM
 
Oh, you have to install the Walgreens app. There's no mention of that on the site linked from the MacNN article, it just says, "To get the most out of purchases, users can simply add the Balance Rewards digital card to the Wallet app in iOS 9 and use it at checkout with Apple Pay." So I was opening the Wallet app and attempting to add it as a card or as a pass from there.
     
pairof9s
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Nov 6, 2015, 03:41 PM
 
Oh..well that explains my success. I've had the Walgreens app for some time...never thought that it would impact the Apple Pay function either.
     
jasonsRX7
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Nov 6, 2015, 05:20 PM
 
I don't really use any loyalty cards, but decided to pick one up when I was at Walgreens last week getting Halloween candy so I could give it a shot. Not keen on having to give them personal info to set up an account, though.
     
sunman42
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Nov 6, 2015, 06:02 PM
 
Agree with jasonsRX7. Don't know how others feel about giving out their personally identifiable information (PII) to yet another merchant in return for the occasional deal, but at the risk of Target, Home Depot, &c. data slurps, but I will never do so again. To me, one of the real advantages of Apple Pay is that the merchant need never have any of your PII in order for your transaction to go through. Only the banks, who recently appear to have done a better job of protecting PII, know and only when you set up the Apple Pay account for their card.

Should I be so paranoid? Gee, I dunno, but I just got this letter from the Acting Director of the federal Office of Personnel Management telling me my name, SSN, address, date and place of birth, residency, educational, and employment history, personal foreign travel history, information about why immediate family as well as business and personal acquaintances were now in unauthorized hands. Cool, huh?
     
Charles Martin
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Nov 6, 2015, 08:07 PM
 
sunman: obtaining personal information is the POINT of loyalty cards. The "payment" for that information is the occasional deal. That's how ALL loyalty cards work.
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jasonsRX7
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Nov 7, 2015, 01:08 AM
 
Charles, the only other loyalty card I have ever used is a Harris Teeter VIC card for groceries. They gave me a card and activated it at the register without me having provided any personal info. I've been using the card for years without ever setting up an account. Maybe many loyalty cards do exchange personal info for discounts, but not all.


With Walgreens, they could have earned my loyalty by just integrating with nicely with Apple Pay. But since I'd have to create an account, I'm going to keep doing what I normally do with drug stores and just go to whichever one happens to be the most convenient at the time.
     
Charles Martin
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Nov 7, 2015, 09:59 AM
 
jasonsRX7: nice to hear about Harris Teeter, but that's not the norm -- and while your card may not be associated with any personal data, they are still tracking what that card buys, how often it is used, the amount spent, and so on. Not a big deal -- I'm not anti-loyalty cards in any way, I just don't think most of them are terribly transparent about what the collect about the holder -- but the point was that they do serve a purpose for the merchant.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Nov 7, 2015, 10:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by sunman42 View Post
Should I be so paranoid? Gee, I dunno, but I just got this letter from the Acting Director of the federal Office of Personnel Management telling me my name, SSN, address, date and place of birth, residency, educational, and employment history, personal foreign travel history, information about why immediate family as well as business and personal acquaintances were now in unauthorized hands. Cool, huh?
Yeah, I got hit with that one too.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Nov 7, 2015, 03:09 PM
 
We haven't gotten a letter from the OPM, but from what I've heard it included anyone who's even had a background check (which we did for our Canada permanent residency), so all our info is probably out in the wild too. Did you happen to catch the lame hearing and testimony? What a bunch of morons! It seems about the only area of IT competency in the government involves data-mining/collecting and breaking encryption. Everything else is big money handouts to incompetent buddies.
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Steve Wilkinson
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