There’s been a lot of discussion about the legal implications of the recent move by CVS and Rite Aid to drop support for Apple Pay. This quote from a Reuters article clarified the point:
Antitrust experts said CVS and Rite Aid have the right to drop a vendor if they believe they can save money by going around the credit card companies and Apple, both of which will take a piece of the action.
But they could run into antitrust trouble if they coordinated on dropping Apple Pay and Google Wallet or if someone else, perhaps a person working with CurrentC, organized their decision to drop Apple and Google’s payment services.
“If I was a regulator, I would want to take a look at that,” said Peter Carstensen, who teaches antitrust at the University of Wisconsin Law School.
As I read this, antitrust would be an issue if a requirement was placed on CVS, Rite Aid, and other members of the MCX consortium to drop support for Apple Pay. In other words, no problem if CVS and Rite Aid independently decided to drop Apple Pay support.
But is that what happened here? What caused them both to drop Apple Pay? Was it a contractual requirement? Was there an email that went out from MCX to the exchange merchants laying out some rule requiring them to block Apple Pay?