Apple Pay Rival CurrentC Launching in Limited Trial Next Month as Exclusivity Expires

currentc_phoneThe Merchant Customer Exchange's contactless payment system, CurrentC, is gearing up for a limited trial run next month in the stores of the companies that began backing MCX in 2012, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, according to unnamed sources speaking with Bloomberg.

The service is backed by a large roster of retailers, from Sears to Wendy's, who support the platform as a way to avoid losing integral shopping data to an increasingly competitive market thanks to the likes of Apple and Google.

CurrentC is different from Apple Pay however, using barcodes and RFID scanners in place of NFC terminals Apple took advantage of with Apple Pay. As Bloomberg points out, it also has a major hurdle regarding the signing of deals with major credit card companies, something it has yet to do.

While MCX is getting closer to releasing its app, there are plenty of hurdles. It hasn’t signed deals with major credit-card companies like Visa to use bank-issued card accounts within the app. That means a shopper wouldn’t be able to use, say, a Visa debit card from JPMorgan Chase & Co. This can be done with competing products like Apple Pay. Instead, users of MCX’s app will be limited to private-label store cards, like Target’s REDcard, or they’ll have to give MCX their checking-account details.

Also worrisome for MCX is the three-year exclusivity contract each retailer signed when the company began talks of the CurrentC system back in 2012. Those contracts -- which prohibited partnering with other mobile payment services -- begin to end next month, alongside CurrentC's soft launch in August. The company has already felt the weight of this, as Best Buy announced back in April it would begin supporting Apple Pay within its mobile app, with in-store support gearing up for later in 2015.

Not long after, MCX's CEO at the time, Dekkers Davidson, left the company, with a spokeswoman telling press that Davidson's exit had nothing to do with the announcement made by Best Buy days before. Payments security analyst Julie Conroy spoke on the subject to Bloomberg, reiterating on the public's trust issues with the company following a hack last year and stating simply, “I’m increasingly skeptical of their chance to really make a dent.”

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: CurrentC, MCX

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Top Rated Comments

nagromme Avatar
117 months ago
I could jump through a million hoops, more awkward than swiping a card, to give a few specific retailers direct, insecure access to my bank account, putting all of the fraud liability on myself while they build and sell a profile on my life.

Or I could use fast, simple, secure, private, widely-supported Apple Pay that pays out of my existing, fraud-protected credit cards.

I'll have to sleep on it...
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bmunge Avatar
117 months ago
How many millions were wasted on this DOA effort?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sampaul Avatar
117 months ago
This thing still exists??? LOL
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mlts22 Avatar
117 months ago
I don't want it. I remember reading they were hacked last October.

The big problem is no credit cards. Pretty much just ACH debits. This means, if fraud happens, you are out that cash, and you can't contest it, as you can with credit cards. I'm pretty sure this is why the merchants like it -- no fear of Visa/MC and credit card dispute paperwork.

Definitely not a service I'd trust around my wallet.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andres Cantu Avatar
117 months ago
Oh CurrentC, in development since 2012, in panic since 2014.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macnewbie91 Avatar
117 months ago
Apply Pay is nice and all ... but it requires an iPhone. There are still millions of people that use other types of phones ... so options are a good thing.
There's also these two other payment services called Android Pay, and also Samsung Pay, which use NFC payment solutions just like how Apple Pay works. I cannot believe I have to tell you this.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)