Why CurrentC will beat out Apple Pay in the end

“By all accounts, Apple has created the smoothest, most technically advanced payment solution yet,” Matthew Mombrea writes for ITWorld. “Working closely with VISA, Apple has solved many complex security issues making in person payments safer than ever while simultaneously making mobile payments easier than ever. No small feat. ”

“Lurking in the shadows however is a competing solution called CurrentC which has recently gained a lot of press as backers of the project moved to block NFC payments (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.) at their retail terminals,” Mombrea writes. “The strength of the merchants designing or backing CurrentC is enormous. It reads like a greatest hits list of retail outfits and leading the way is the biggest of them all, Walmart. The retailers have joined together to create a platform that is independent of the credit card companies and their profit-robbing transaction fees. Hooking directly to your bank account rather than a credit or debit card, CurrentC will use good old ACH to transfer money from your account to the merchant’s bank account at little to no cost (fees can vary but are generally flat-rate pennies rather than a percentage of the transaction).”

“This is huge for the merchants who are losing a significant amount of money on every credit card transaction,” Mombrea writes. “Their system [CurrentC] is largely driven by QR codes which makes it prehistoric in comparison (people scanning QR codes) but has the benefit of working on the broadest range of devices… Normally I’d say that the product with the most user appeal will win but the power and size behind the CurrentC group is too big to ignore… If you frequent a store that is pushing CurrentC, you’re not likely to hold out for long, especially if that store is your normal grocery store where shopper club discounts are significant (current supporters include Giant Eagle, Publix, Shop Rite, Acme, Meijer, Price Rite, and Sams Club).”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lee” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
How to punish Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, and others who block Apple Pay – October 29, 2014
iPhone users and Android settlers raid reviews of CurrentC payments app – October 29, 2014
Retailer-backed MCX Apple Pay rival has already been hacked; testers’ email addresses stolen – October 29, 2014
Why Walmart, CVS and Rite-Aid really hate Apple Pay: They can’t track your buying habits – October 29, 2014
CurrentC retailers’ conundrum: MCX contract expressly bars Apple Pay acceptance – October 29, 2014
Retailers like CVS and Rite Aid that block Apple Pay are taking a big security risk – October 28, 2014
Apple Pay tussle with CVS, Rite Aid the first shot in mobile payments war – October 28, 2014
In one week, Apple Pay already No. 1; used more than all other mobile payment systems combined – October 28, 2014
Alibaba’s Jack Ma says open to working with Apple on Apple Pay – October 28, 2014
Tim Cook blasts CVS, Rite Aid over Apple Pay blockade: ‘You only are relevant if your customers love you’ – October 28, 2014
Seeking personal data, Walmart, Best Buy, and others won’t let shoppers enjoy Apple Pay privacy – October 27, 2014
Boycott CVS and Rite Aid – October 27, 2014
Bad business: CVS and Rite Aid antagonize their most well-heeled customers by blocking Apple Pay – October 27, 2014
CVS stores reportedly disabling NFC to shut down Apple Pay – October 25, 2014
iPhone users earn significantly more than those who settle for Android phones – October 8, 2014
Yet more proof that Android is for poor people – June 27, 2014
More proof that Android is for poor people – May 13, 2014
Apple’s iOS dominates in richer countries, Android in poorer regions – March 25, 2014
Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor – June 20, 2013
iPhone users smarter, richer than Android phone users – August 16, 2011
Yankee Group: Apple iPhone owners shop more, buy more, remain more loyal vs. other device users – July 20, 2010


      1. While I do think Russ is a bit off base here, never forget that no one is too big to fail. Look at IBM, look at what is becoming of Microsoft. If you piss off enough people, there will eventually be repercussions.

      2. You are just a plain dullard, and unrelated to the other Russ who has a sense of humor, unlike you. Your tasteless joke at the late Steve Jobs expense is just another example of what a cretin you are.

        This will indeed hurt Walmart assuming they stick to their guns. They won’t be “gone by the end of the year” but if even one of those stores is in financial distress by 2015 then Russ will be vindicated. But I believe his statement was intended as humor, not that you’d know.

    1. Here is why CurrentC will fail: I won’t use it because I won’t give ANYONE the right to reach into my bank account.

      When you use a credit card and presumably Apple Pay your credit card company is charged first. If you have a problem with the product or merchant you haven’t spent any money yet. At that point it is in both the merchant’s and the credit card company’s best interest to solve the problem. Once they have your money the situation changes to their favor.

      This is the fundamental problem with PayPal.

      1. Agreed …. What this tool of a writer doesn’t get is that using a credit card affords you protections as a consumer that direct access to your bank account does not. Most consumers don’t even realize how much power their own credit card company provides them when making a purchase. For example, you have the right to dispute any change with a merchant up to 3-6 months after purchase in some cases, and the merchant must respond to that dispute within 30-60 days. Lack of response is an automatic “win” for the consumer and you will receive a full refund on the transaction. Even when the merchant responds, they must essentially prove that the transaction is valid. Even then, the credit card company, in the interest of peace, will attempt to mediate between you and the merchant to obtain a satisfactory outcome for both parties (e.g. partial refund, etc.). None of this will occur with ACH transfer. If you want to dispute an ACH transfer, you better get ready to claim it as fraud.

      2. EX-F***ING-ZACTLY! Current C would have a chance if you could tie normal credit cards to it, but to be required to tie a checking account to it? DOA.

        Even beyond the privacy and security issues, I don’t want to keep my checking account full just so I can go shopping. I use my credit card so I don’t have to plan how much money I’m going to spend before I leave the house. I just charge almost everything and pay off my balance each month.


  1. Is this guy smoking crack, after this program gets hacked for the second time (already hacked once for emails) people will go with what they trust. No way this program grows. I believe it will always be there for use but NFC will come back once the customers demand it. Also this program was shut down by the Chinese government due to lack of security so best of luck guys.

    1. Yes, like I want to give these guys my bank information and my social security number.

      I’ll go the opposite direction. I’ll bet CurrentC is dead by next year – people are tired of having their privacy violated.

    2. “The strength of the merchants designing or backing CurrentC is enormous.”
      What crack pipe is this Anal….yst smoking??
      Sears and Kmart are barely holding on. And Walmart will fsk it’s own mother for a buck.

      A danger to Apple???? Don’t think so. 😜

  2. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
    In America, maybe, possibly.
    But the world doesn’t revolve around the US, or these retailers, either.
    Touch-and-go pay points are appearing in retailers in increasing numbers, and banks are increasingly rolling out cards with the technology, plus public transport systems are adopting it as well.

    1. Exactly if the U.S. wants to back a dead end purely provincial system with outdated technology that has little growth potential it will soon learn how it can no longer ignore the rest of the World and flourish even if this is predominantly the realm of American retailers inside American borders. Even retailing is becoming worldwide now and selecting a system that no one else will use and precluding serious technical advances that Apple Pay, NFC and later combining iBeacon functionality no doubt will be like putting a gun to your forehead on the World stage and will allow a big opportunity for foreign traders to move in. Protectionism can only work so far and for do long here. One also has to ask about Bank charge consequences should a system that seriously cuts out the credit card income that many Banks rely upon. A loss for NFC for. System of this nature could have wider consequences that will hit the consumer negatively for the most part.

  3. He’s right in that Apple has its work cut out for it. He’s wrong that Apple will lose: Apple has the banks, the credit card issuers, and a lot of merchants (digital and brick-and-mortar) on board with this system already, with more to follow. Plus, it’s a standard that can be used anywhere–from a restaurant to a store to the vending machine in the basement of my friend’s apartment building.

    Yes, CurrentC will run on more phones. But every day, more Google Wallet and Apple Pay-equipped devices will be sold. The fact that CurrentC isn’t even on the market yet with its clunky, inconvenient, and downright dangerous system means that it’ll be joining this fight as the underdog, not the champion.

    1. Since the banks are on board with Apple Pay, I do not see why Apple Pay could not be effective in handling either (a) credit card transactions or (b) debit transactions — ie, direct bank transfers. Customers and/or retailers can take their pick. So that cost-sensitvie retailers that wish to avoid credit card fees could opt for direct bank transfers. Or am I missing something, from a technology viewpoint?

  4. I did not read the full article, but the excerpt leads me to believe that the author does not fully understand the implications of the Apple Pay (real, functioning capability) and the CurrentC (not yet available) approaches.

    Apple Pay builds on the established credit card system which is almost universally used and accepted. The bonus is that Apple Pay greatly improves transaction security while also improving the user experience. Apple Pay also prevents retailers from collecting and compiling your purchasing information unless you choose to let them via rewards programs.

    CurrentC plans to link directly to your debit cards and collect every bit of customer information that it can possible record. It is not intended for the benefit of the consumer in terms of privacy, security, or ease of use (QR codes?!). Instead, it is intended to reduce transaction costs to the retailer and collect even more customer information for the retailers to leverage and monetize. People will avoid CurrentC and it will be DOA.

    Walmart, in particular, is likely to find CurrentC to be a losing proposition.

    1. Thing is, most people don’t HAVE to shop at one of these stores. Some do. I know I don’t. I can go to Home depot instead of Lowe’s, I can go to Walgreens instead of CVS/Rite Aid, the list goes on. Never smart to piss of people who have and are willing to spend money.

    2. That is an important factor, tom. If people have a choice between the status quo (cash, credit cards, debit cards) and Apple Pay, some will choose Apple Pay. If people have a choice between the status quo and using CurrentC, few will use CurrentC, even with incentives.

      Convenience trumps most other factors. CurrentC is not convenient (QR codes), not secure (no benefit over the status quo), and it requires that the person have the funds in their account to debit the purchase immediately.

      1. Forget about just having the funds, if there’s a problem you have zero power to mediate a dispute with a retailer who sold you a shoddy product or otherwise screwed you over unless you purchased your item on a credit card.

  5. Well I just left a one star review for the app currentc. I was surprised it was in the App Store already. I only found out about it from MDN. Thanks!

    I explained in the app review there’s no way in hell I will ever use it, and if I am forced to shop there I will whip out a credit card to make them eat the fees. 🙂 they will hear our voice! Loud and clear.

    This is pure FUD trying to scare people into conforming to be unstoppable major retailers. They won’t get their way on this, it’s our money and we will decide how we want to spend it!

    Everything Apple comes out with is going to fail they say. I am so sick of this.

    This is something we can easily win if we stick together.

    I don’t care how much they want us to just go away. I’ve been with Apple since my first SE/FDHD and I’m not giving up on this one either. I have never owned a Windows machine.

    So go write the app a one star and tell them what you think about their plan for us.

    Let’s kick some retail ass!

  6. I suppose it’s worth mentioning that only a private beta of CurrentC actually exists.
    And it’s been hacked. Already.
    And the customer is responsible for fraud losses.

    If there ever was a criminal’s wet dream, a direct link with poor security to millions of bank accounts would be in the Top Ten.

  7. Besides the antiquated tech, privacy and security problems associated with CurrentC ( they had a data breach while it was still in the testing phase) it seems to overlook a major issue with it’s base structure. We live in a debt based economy, how many people in this country actually have the money in their bank accounts that CurrentC links to, to cover their purchases. They have the money to make the minimum payment on their credit cards not pay off the full amount.

      1. Yep, in fact the last few adds I have seen for Walmart where talking up layaway, a way to pay over time for something you can’t afford now. Not to mention is MCX going to reimburse you for bank overdraft fees you might incur should you get double charged for something that then leads to bounced checks. Or put the money back in your bank account when they get hacked and your accounts get drained. At least with a credit card you can dispute the charges and you aren’t your life savings. MCX says it is secure because sensitive information is not stored on the device but in their secure Cloud. So what MCX is doing is creating the holy grail for identity thieves, a Cloud that could contain thousands or millions of Names, SSN, DL’s and bank accounts.

  8. Why does anyone need to win or lose this battle? A smart retailer will allow people to pay with any form of payment the customer prefers whether it be cash, credit/debit card, ApplePay, CurrentC, Bitcoin, or what have you.

    The retailer’s objective should be to make the sale and make the customer happy, not to skim a few percentage points off the purchase price.

    Oh wait, we are talking about Walmart and Best Buy–never mind.

    1. The whole reason that CurrentC, released to the iPhone app store the week before Apple Pay was announced, is an issue is that the MCX rules forbid any such choice. CurrentC must be the ONLY system in any store using it.

      Apple Pay was in place and working at CVS and Rite Aid, then shut down because of the MCX agreement that the stores had consented to..

  9. “profit-robbing transaction fees”

    1. Accepting credit cards is and always has been about customer service.
    2. Customer service does and (almost) always will “rob” profits.

  10. With Current C, the retailer is the consumer and the consumer is the product.

    With Apple Pay, the consumer is the consumer. And I believe that with huge volumes of iPhone 6’s to be shipped it will become the de facto standard.

    1. ApplePay is built on top of an industry standard payment protocol that anyone can use. What makes it “ApplePay” is the iPhone and Apple’s unique ability to make it extremely simple and easy to use while at the same time making it very secure – plus their willingness and desire to protect their users’ privacy.

      As more banks and merchants ready themselves for ApplePay… everyone will eventually benefit as other payments systems move towards these more modern and secure protocols.

  11. Yes, it seems the A list of retail is lined up against Apple. Yet, little known to this guy is the average Joe and Jane that spends the money. Bet who will win, the large company or the millions that will pay the small market to protect their bank account?

    I am willing to bet that the large retailer will blink first when Joe or Jane goes next door to purchase with Apple Pay.

  12. Since Apple Pay also works with Debit Cards which are issued by banks are process using your checking account in the same way PayPal and CurrentC why don’t merchant just push for use of Debit Cards to avoid Credit Card transaction fees.

      1. I have been using ApplePay with my debit card since day 1. I just called the bank to confirm that the merchant is charged no fee, yet I am still protected in case of a dispute. Best of both worlds.

  13. 2 thoughts:

    1) Article from ITWorld. You know, those same blokes who just love Apple because Apple products promote the essentialness of IT folks.

    2) The business model: Give reduced transaction fees in order to gain knowledge of everything about a consumer and sell it back to members. Want to bet Walmart will pay less for that information than smaller stores? Wanna bet Walmart will use your purchase information from non-Walmart members to drive you to Walmart?

    Conclusion: Author is wrong — MCX will internally combust in just a couple of membership cycles.

  14. I’m going to follow this story closely. The outcome will decide the debate between the idea that corporations form a monolithic power structure that exploits the public in coordinated fashion, or that they’re all competing with each other by offering us more value.

    My money’s on the latter.

  15. So companies will make CurrentC “win” by forcing people to not use Apple Pay, and lowering the overall usage of any payment method of its type instead of allowing customers to use Apple Pay and embracing the consumer choice?

    1. That’s a fucking lazy way to argue the point. For comparison we will use a cash vs credit card debate to compare. They are basically saying cash will win because major retailers have decided not to accept credit cards.

      By doing this nobody is going to win, people will just keep buying stuff with cash and credit cards like they have before all this and no one will use CurrentC and no one will be able to use Apple Pay.

      1. That’s like the whole ultraviolet digital copy thing. Why do they even offer that, nobody redeems them and if they do they have to stream it and cant watch it in native apps, where iTunes digital copies link to the apple ecosystem. Breaking away from the Apple ecosystem for Apple users is not a smart move, nobody is going to use your shit.

  16. For the LAST time: Retailers are NOT “losing money” on credit card transactions. They lose far more money taking personal checks. The credit card fees are factored into the price of merchandise.

    The real issue is getting data on consumers’ shopping habits, and Apple Pay doesn’t give them that. They have to rely on rewards programs, which cost money and not everyone uses.

    1. People haven’t even started seeing how convenient it is to pay for purchases with an Apple Watch that’s already out of their pockets. What are they going to do, tattoo the stupid QR code to peoples’ wrists?

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