Best Buy Changes Mind, Ends Its Ban On Apple Pay

When Apple Pay launched last fall, Best Buy was among the most high-profile retailers who refused to accept the new mobile payment platform because of its allegiance to the in-development CurrentC, a competing service from a Walmart-led coalition of retailers. But with CurrentC’s rollout still lingering in the vague future, Best Buy has decided it’s time to give Apple Pay a shot.

Ars Technica reports that during Apple’s quarterly earnings call on Monday, the company announced that Best Buy is now accepting Apple Pay, in spite of Best Buy’s allegiance to the Merchant Customer Exchange, the retailer coalition behind CurrentC.

MCX had previously explained that it was requiring participating retailers to initially use CurrentC exclusively to give the system some “breathing room” to gain a foothold in the market.

But Best Buy is apparently going to defy that exclusive arrangement and offer both Apple Pay and CurrentC (when it eventually launches).

“Today’s consumers have many different ways to spend their money and we want to give our customers as many options as possible in how they pay for goods and services at Best Buy,” the retailer told Ars.

In response to the Best Buy announcement, MCX explained that its exclusivity provisions “are designed to expire and as such as are limited in both time and scope.”

Best Buy isn’t the only MCX member to accept Apple Pay. Michigan-based big box retailer Meijer supports the Apple platform.

“Best Buy remains a strong MCX partner and supporter of the CurrentC initiative,” says MCX COO Scott Rankin. “As we have stated in the past, we are of the firm belief that there need to be at least 2-3 major players within the mobile payments ecosystem for it to succeed. We remain steadfast and passionate about CurrentC, as well as completely focused on delivering the best mobile commerce solution for our merchant partners and for consumers.”

Given the current limitations of Apple Pay — like the fact that it’s inaccessible for most smartphone users — it’s important that retailers offer multiple payment platforms, not just for giving customers choice, but because competition drives innovation and keeps costs down.