CVS makes first move with PayPal contactless payment

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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CVS Pharmacy is the first major national retailer to offer touch-free payment with PayPal and Venmo QR codes at brick-and-mortar stores.

The drugstore giant, which initially announced its intention to launch this contactless payment option in July 2020, now provides PayPal and Venmo QR codes at checkout in 8,200 standalone retail locations. 

These codes allow customers to securely pay for their items without needing to touch a keypad or sign a receipt, while also being able to access multiple payment methods available in PayPal and Venmo wallets. Existing PayPal and Venmo users will have immediate access to the service. According to CVS, other customers will usually be able to sign up for PayPal or Venmo and link their preferred payment method within minutes. 

To use the new touch-free payment option at CVS, customers can open either the PayPal or Venmo mobile app, click the "scan" button, and select the “show to pay” option. PayPal customers will be able to pay using stored debit or credit cards, bank accounts, PayPal balance, or PayPal credit. 

With Venmo QR codes, customers can pay using their stored debit or credit cards, bank account, Venmo balance or Venmo credit card for eligible customers. PayPal does not charge fees to the customer when paying with PayPal or Venmo QR codes, and shoppers enrolled in CVS' ExtraCare rewards program will still be able to redeem and apply savings using their ExtraCare account when checking out with PayPal or Venmo QR codes. Since January, CVS says it has seen a 43% increase in touch-free transactions.

"Putting our customer's safety at the forefront of our innovations, we've focused resources on finding new ways to make customers' lives easier and more convenient," said Jon Roberts, executive VP and COO at CVS Health. "Introducing more digital options, including touch-free payments at the register, is in step with changing consumer preferences."

"The launch of PayPal and Venmo QR codes in CVS Pharmacy stores will not only provide health-conscious customers with a touch-free way to pay at checkout, but also brings the safety and security of PayPal and Venmo transactions into the store with shoppers," said Jeremy Jonker, senior VP head of consumer in-store and digital commerce, PayPal. "We are thrilled that PayPal and Venmo QR codes will help to maintain the safety of CVS customers and employees, especially in the essential pharmacy retail environment as we go into the winter months."