CVS Launches QR Code Payments with PayPal, Venmo

Contactless payment is now available at 8,200 CVS locations in the U.S.

Need to Know

  • CVS becomes the first national retailer to offer contactless payments, through a partnership with PayPal and Venmo.
  • Customers will be able to pay for their purchases by scanning a QR code at checkouts in-store.
  • The partnership was first announced in July and has now been implemented at 8,200 CVS locations across the U.S.


As touch-free commerce remains of importance to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS has brought a new form of contactless retail to its U.S. stores, announcing on November 16 that QR code-enabled payments are now available at 8,200 locations across the U.S.

The QR code payment technology is in partnership with PayPal and its subsidiary Venmo. In order to pay for orders using the technology in-store, customers can open either the PayPal or Venmo mobile app on their smartphones, and use the app to scan a QR code that is created for their purchase. PayPal users can pay using their stored debit or credit cards, bank accounts, PayPal balance, or by using PayPal Credit. Similarly, Venmo QR codes allow customers to pay using their stored debit or credit cards, bank account, Venmo balance, or Venmo Credit Card.

“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, SVP of digital commerce at 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.”

CVS announced the PayPal partnership in July of this year but has only now rolled out the QR code-enabled payment option at its physical stores. Contactless payment has risen in popularity at CVS throughout the pandemic; according to the press release announcing the QR code payment implementation, CVS has seen a 43% increase in contactless transactions since January. Research from PayPal, also cited in the press release, shows that, for 57% of consumers, digital payment offerings affects their willingness to shop at specific stores, while 34% say they would not buy from a store at all if QR code-enabled payments were not available.

CVS put digital expansion and innovation at the forefront of its development plans since earlier this year, even pre-pandemic. In February, the pharmacy giant outlined plans to develop centers of excellence for data and robotics, move its technology to a hybrid cloud environment, optimize call centers with AI and robotics, and use advanced data and analytics to enhance workforce-management tools. In April of this year, the company announced a partnership with Flight Forward, the UPS drone-delivery subsidiary, to deliver prescriptions via drone to a retirement community in Florida, and in July, it announced that it would be launching a voice prescription tool for the visually impaired.

PayPal is a good partner for the pharmacy chain, as it is already widely used by consumers—and growing. In Q3, the company posted historic numbers, with new growth for PayPal hitting almost $247 billion in payments for the period, and Venmo hitting $44 billion. Venmo currently has 65 million total users; PayPal has a whopping 285 million active users, with 15 million new users signing on in Q3 of this year.