Feeling the heat, MCX CurrentC consortium suggests possible future switch to NFC

“The movement to boycott merchants who are members of the MCX consortium also seems to be growing in popularity, gaining a Boycott MCX website with a full list of members,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “When you click on the name of a consortium member, a list of competing stores who accept or plan to accept Apple Pay is displayed.”

“Having been criticized for its clunky use of QR codes, MCX said yesterday that CurrentC may ‘pivot to NFC over time,'” Lovejoy reports. “The company had earlier said that it was ‘entirely possible’ that it would do a U-turn on its current exclusivity requirement and allow merchants to accept both CurrentC and Apple Pay at some point in the future, though no certainty or timeframe was offered.”

“The company fixed the broken link to its privacy policy, in which it describes the ways in which it shares information collected about consumers using the CurrentC payment system. This confirms that MCX shares information with merchants, as well as with a range of third-parties,” Lovejoy reports. “Apple Pay, in contrast, does not even share your card details with merchants.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That’s right, it’s not just about eliminating credit card fees: It’s about tracking customers. CurrentC will track users’ purchases — or, it would, if anybody actually uses it, which they won’t because it’s a cumbersome clusterfsck of overly-intrusive bank account access and arduous QR-code scanning laboriousness — and that, tracking users’ purchases, cuts to the issue of what MCX CurrentC merchants really want besides more money: they wants to know what their customers buy and when they buy it, so that they can hit them with targeted ads on their phones.

Apple doesn’t save your transaction information. With Apple Pay, your payments are private. Apple Pay doesn’t store the details of your transactions so they can’t be tied back to you. That is what Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid et al. hate about Apple Pay and why they currently won’t accept it.

Boycott non-cash payment systems from any company that willfully turns off NFC in an effort to block the vastly more secure, much more private, and far easier-to-use Apple Pay service.

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

Related articles:
Analyst: CurrentC retailers likely to blink and support Apple Pay – October 29, 2014
Why CurrentC will beat out Apple Pay in the end – October 29, 2014
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. In the end Money talks. When you lose sales, you need to adapt. So ether Apple implements an opt in feature for loyalty customers of certain retailers with some kind of extension for Apple Pay, or CurrentC simply allows Apple Pay with no taking ability. Ether outcome will allow Apple Pay.

  2. Do whatever the f*ck you want to do, just don’t mess with my ability to pay for goods and services with the method of my choice when it’s well within your capabilities to do so.

      1. We all make our own choices, each and every day. Not least of which is where we choose to live. I live in New Jersey. Arguably a place where most are current with the latest technological advances of the day. Yet even here there are merchants that I can buy from who do not accept credit cards. But these merchants have made that choice by themselves and have not attempted to build a cabal of subscribers to a doctrine that requires that they accept no other form of payment. That’s the mistake that’s being made here.

      2. At issue here is not the small places or technologically ancient locations. It’s the locations that had NFC and turned it off because of this nonsense. CVS and Rite Aid were fully capable of taking NFC payments and took them happily till MCX told them to stop.

  3. I suppose it’s worth noting that this service links to your bank account directly.

    Their beta, private testing service has been hacked.
    Many of their partners have been hacked.

    You are responsible for any fraud.
    Please reread the previous sentence and then reflect on what you would do if all the money in your all your bank accounts disappears and there is no one to help you.

      1. I’ve spoken with my mother about this issue. She just sent me an email and will be canceling her Target RedCard and requesting that her information be expunged from their databases.

      2. Yeah, I signed up for this card out of greed (5% discount on all purchases). After Target got hacked, I called my bank and got a permanent stop-payment on all debit purchases from Target (no bank charge for this at least). I have had no problems, but, geez, what was I thinking, signing up for anything that has debit access?

  4. Wally World is in a flat spin and desperately looking for more way stop screw over it’s customers, suppliers and the communities it operates in. Wally World is the driving force behind MCX, a giant vampire quid that sucks the life out of every last vestige of the economy to pipe all the money back to Bentonville.

    MCX is an effort to cut out the banks so that retailers can keep more of your money for themselves and data mining you for fun and profit. Apple Pay is a way to securely clear your purchases and maintain your privacy in the process.

    I contend that MCX is a cartel in violation of US Anti-trust laws that should be enforced against them.

    email for the US DoJ Anti-Trust Division


        1. If it gets to 10,000 signatures he has to respond. Whether he will force the DOJ to investigate, I don’t know. A response would be very interesting at least.

          Under Obama, the DOJ investigated Apple for collusion and there was a lot less evidence of it.

  5. Quite right; this is not about those 2-3% credit card fees; it is about customer private data and purchasing history.

    Anaylsts estimate that this personal data and purchasing history is worth $300 per year per each “active wallet” (i.e. regular customer).

    Imagine having access to the most intimate details to someone’s life: first morning coffee at local Starbucks on the way to work (every weekday, at 8:40am, tall moccha late…), then breakfast in the building cafeteria (9:10am, bran muffin, or a croissant), then lunch at a local Pret-a-Manger (1:20pm, small Moroccan lentil soup and an Italian meatball wrap), then at a local Walgreens at 6:35pm 3-pack of Trojans, then at 7:52 a taxi ride on Uber (from Murray Hill to Bleecker St.), then a dinner at “Olive Tree” at 9:55 (Chicken kabob platter, Mediterranean hummus platter, house wine, chocolate ganache cake…), then some more wine at Comedy Cellar at 12:15am, then another taxi ride from Bleecker Street to E 77th Street at 12:30am, then one more taxi ride from E 77th St to Murray Hill at 2:50am…

    And as we all increasingly more often pay for everything with our credit cards, if all these merchants were participants in this Merchant Exchange, all of our life would be given to them to dissect it. I’m not really sure I’d be comfortable if that many entities (or people) knew that I went on a date after work and got lucky at the end of the day…

    With ApplePay, your transactions are as anonymous as paying with cash.

    1. Uh, your bank (card issuer) still knows where each transaction is coming from, so it’s not really *as* anonymous as cash.

      ApplePay just allows you to remain anonymous from merchants. Although I believe they could still track your purchases by your Device Account Number which is transmitted to the NFC terminal. (The DAC is a 16 digit number issued to your iPhone from the bank when you originally added the card to passbook – It’s basically a faux CC number.)

      1. It was my impression that this specific number they transmit to the merchant (I believe they kept referring to it as “token”) was randomly created at every purchase, and that because of the way system is designed, the bank always knows it is you, but the merchant is completely oblivious, as it looks like a first-time customer every time you pay with ApplePay.

        I may be wrong.

    2. so … do I also have to travel to 77th street at 12:30 AM to get lucky? … not that I’m data mining your purchases …

      note: not sure about the chicken kabob platter on the same night I’m getting lucky.

      1. You do realise that names, places and times have been altered to protect the privacy of the person(s) in this entirely fictional account…?

        Which doesn’t mean you can’t get lucky on E 77th Street…

      2. But that chicken kabob platter was actually quite good; marinated with some parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, few bits of roasted peppers and onions… And it is rather light on your stomach, so you’re ready for whatever the rest of the evening brings…

        Olive Tree (on McDougal street, actually) is a great little restaurant with quite low prices; same ownership for over two decades, and that includes “Cafe Wha’?” (rock-n-roll club in the basement, with an excellent in-house band), as well as Comedy Cellar next to it (where I saw Ray Romano some 20 years ago, when he was still anonymous).

    3. Then they combine that with your health data. Soon after, the participates receive emails informing them that their health insurance costs have tripled. Imagine how much this CurrentC participant insurance rates will increase: loves cakes and candies, smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, drinks alcohol more than once a week, eats non-grass-fed beef, walks less than a mile a day, does the humpty once every six months.

  6. CVS response to my recent email about pay…

    Hello Mark,

    I have received your email regarding our inability to accept ApplePay or other mobile payments that use NFC technology. Your feedback is appreciated and will be taken into consideration while we are in the process of evaluating mobile payment options for our customers. Please accept my sincerest apology for any inconvenience.

    CVS Customer Relations

    1. Did you try asking “Donna” for her full name, her address, her phone, e-mail address, and shopping history by chance? Might be a good test of just how sincere “Donna” and her bosses actually are.

    2. You are not supposed to reference Apple Pay™ as “pay”. Apple’s official guidelines state: “When using the name Apple Pay in headlines or copy, always typeset Apple Pay as two words with an uppercase A and uppercase P followed by lowercase letters. Never use the Apple logo to represent the name Apple in text. In U.S. communications, use the trademark symbol (™) the first time Apple Pay appears in body copy” (Apple Pay Identity Guidelines, 2014).

  7. It’s about customer choice as to how they would like to pay. They can have there QR code B.S. as long as I have the choice to use Apple Pay or some other method of payment.
    It should be the customer that gets to choose, not eliminate all methods of payment except the one they want.

  8. The website MDN links offers a form letter you can sign and mail. I edited it and here is my version- feel free to use it:

    I wish to express my concern about your involvement with the anti-consumer payment system called CurrentC.

    Among my concerns are these:

    1. CurrentC is LESS convenient than using a credit or debit card. NFC based payment systems like Apple Pay & Google Wallet are superior.

    2. CurrentC collects data about me and stores it on servers. My data is my business- not yours. Any data collected will be a prime target for hackers and a multiple vendor data breach will be far more harmful than those already extant. I have no confidence in retailer centric payment options to safeguard privacy. Witness the hacking of your signed up customer list.

    3. CurrentC will access & store my banking information- another deal breaker. My banking information is not your business and is unnecessary. This circumvention of card payment fraud protection transfers data breach risk to me directly. You get the benefit and I get all the risk.

    4. CurrentC is a platform that facilitates targeted advertising. I hate advertising, despise targeted ads, value my privacy and am not a product to be sold. I do not wish to have a “relationship” with retailers. Anything that unnecessarily collects data on me or targets ads toward me is a deal breaker.

    My privacy and my personal financial and demographic information is NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS. I am not applying for a job or for credit. I will NOT use CurrentC and will not patronize your member stores if I can not use MY CHOICE OF PAYMENT that will not include data collection and targeted advertising.

    Choosing not to accept widely accepted NFC payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet is a blatant attempt at forcing consumers into a scheme to increase your profits, increase our financial and privacy risk while allowing you to sell our data. It also reflects a fear of a competitive market and all the member companies openly support a free market- right? Competition will show CurrentC as a lame, thinly veiled attempt to screw over consumers for the increased profit of members.

    As a consumer, I am informing you that failure to publicly support consumer choice by supporting Apple Pay and Google Wallet both online and in your stores will result in a loss of business from me and everyone I can influence regarding this matter.

    I personally consider the actions and plans of MCX regarding the active blocking of NFC Payment systems in favor of a captive system cartel-like activity in violation of our nation’s anti-trust laws. I have contacted the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice and asked them to investigate the matter. I have also contacted my Banking and financial institutions and asked them to contact the DoJ and FTC, asking for an investigation as it is anti-competitive.


    1. Thanks – great letter.
      Another point to make is that Apple Pay greatly reduces the risk (cost) of the vendor being hacked, i.e., huge reduction in fraud risk. CurrentC does nothing to reduce fraud risk.

    2. Question: Can Google Wallet let Google, being Google, track your purchases and send you targeted advertising? I truly don’t know. If it does, it seems that one would want to omit reference to GW in the letter to avoid undermining the argument regarding privacy.

  9. This email from Kmart/Sears Customer Service:

    On Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014 our IT team detected that our payment data
    systems had been breached. It has been determined that the breach
    started early September 2014.
    Based on the investigation to date, no personal information, no debit
    card PIN numbers, no email addresses or social security numbers were
    obtained by those criminally responsible. There is also no evidence that
    kmart.com customers were impacted.
    To further protect our members and customers who shopped in our Kmart
    stores during the month of September 2014 through Oct. 9, 2014, Kmart
    will be offering free credit monitoring protection.
    For additional information and guidance, please visit http://www.kmart.com.

    SHC Customer Service

    This after I sent them an email regarding MCX and CurrentC. My ending them an email put me on their mailing list.

  10. Copied from shawk above, just because I think it is *very* worth repeating:

    In connecting CurrentC directly to your bank account, “You are responsible for any fraud.
    Please reread the previous sentence and then reflect on what you would do if all the money in your all your bank accounts disappears and there is no one to help you.”

  11. What I don’t understand is why doesn’t CurrentC simply issue cards? They could even be virtual cards. And then allow those cards to be Apple Pay compatible.

    From the customer perspective, it would work similarly to how it does now.

    A customer downloads the app. The enter their personal financial info, (or recoil in fear and move on), and then the app submits the application, which is approved or rejected. If approved, it’s then sent to Passbook as an Apple Pay card.

  12. I really hope they allow all forms of payment. It will then be interesting to see how shopping behaviors break out: Apple users will be anonymous, Google Wallet users will be owned by Google, and all those CurrentC users who still think QR codes are cool will be owned by the merchants. It’ll just be very interesting to see the analysis coming out of this!

  13. I presumed their set up deliberately and technically precluded NFC in some way. It makes them sound even more brain dead if they planned to use QR codes as a commercial decision only. What world are these Luddites living in to think you can foist an inferior system on people when they now claim they didn’t have to at all. It reeks of exclusion and a members club hell bent on division and enforcement simply through force, a bit like the labour unions at their worst. The rest of the World will just laugh at them and be thankful that they have taken themselves out of the gene pool.

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