NFC payments have become commonplace in many locations, and you might think that stores would be interested in expanding support for services such as Apple Pay or Google Pay for their convenience. However, it seems like JCPenney is going the other way.
The company confirmed on Twitter that it is no longer accepting Apple Pay in its stores, though there's no clear indication of why. The JCPenney app for iOS also no longer allows customers to check out with Apple Pay, Appleosophy reports.
While there's no officially-provided reason for the store to stop accepting a payment method that's usually been expanding, it's possible that it has something to do with the recently-announced Apple Card. JCPenney offers its own credit card, and Apple Pay would give customers a 2% cashback on every purchase, as opposed to the 1% they'll be given if they're forced to use the physical credit card from Apple. It could be that JCPenney is trying to push customers to use its own card instead.
The Apple Card is scheduled to be available sometime this summer, and if this is indeed the reason for JCPenney's decision, it will be interesting to see if other retailers follow suit before then, or if the company will roll back its decision. In January, Apple said that Apple Pay support was available in 74 out of the top 100 merchants in the United States, in light of its expansion to Target, Taco Bell, and more.
Update: In a statement to TechCrunch, JCPenney clarifies that support was dropped for all forms of contactless payments, as result of a requirement to support EMV contactless payments and drop support for the currently-used MSD (Magnetic Stripe Data) contactless implementation. The deadline required to support the new standard was April 13, and JCPenney was seemingly unable to adhere to it on time, which means contactless payments were removed altogether. The company didn't address the inability to use Apple Pay in the JCPenney app, however.