Walgreens Becomes First Retailer To Integrate Loyalty Program With Android Pay

Walgreens has integrated its Balance Rewards loyalty rewards program with Android Pay, making it the first retailer to support the feature through Google’s NFC-integrated payments service.

Balance Rewards members can add their card information to the Android Pay app if they have an Android device, and use it at checkout at any of the 8,200 Walgreens locations in the U.S. Customers can hold the device near the PIN pad at the payment terminal and tap twice: once to scan their specific rewards information, and then again to check out.

Customers can pay for purchases with most standard credit and debit cards, EMV chip credit cards and other mobile wallets.


“We want to make in-store payments simpler for everyone, so we’ve worked with Walgreens to implement Balance Rewards with Android Pay in their stores nationwide — giving customers instant, frictionless access to their loyalty card when they pay,” said Pali Bhat, Senior Director of Product Management at Google in a statement. “Now, Walgreens customers can speed through the entire checkout process in as few as two taps with their Android phones.”

Walgreens has made a habit of getting out in front of the pack when it comes to integrating mobile payments options. The drugstore chain already has integrated Balance Rewards with mobile payments competitor Apple Pay, and actually began to support the payments service in October 2014, just as then-competitor Rite Aid renounced its support for it.

Although Rite Aid and other Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) members ended up accepting Apple Pay at a later date even as they attempted to launch the failed CurrentC mobile payments app, the mobile payments industry as a whole remains quite fragmented. Retailers such as CVS and Walmart have begun offering their own payment systems integrated into the retailers’ mobile apps.


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