CurrentC, MCX retailers’ answer to Apple Pay, faces doom

“It’s as if the Three Stooges had been given the assignment of introducing a new and safer way for consumers to pay at some of the biggest retail stores. CurrentC is the new smartphone payment system from a consortium of retailers, including Best Buy, WalMart, Target and Sears, all hurting from poor sales,” Jefferson Graham writes for USA Today. “The system is currently being test-marketed at some “confidential” locations. And this week, the company behind it had to admit some really damaging news: the system has already been hacked. Before it’s even launched.”

“The odds that you’ll ever see CurrentC rolled out nationally are slim to none,” Graham writes. “CurrentC, run by the Boston-based Merchant Customer Exchange (known as MCX), has the misfortune of following in the footsteps of Apple’s hugely successful mobile payment launch, which nabbed 1 million new customers in three days and has drawn rave reviews. Apple Pay is the most consumer friendly mobile payment system we’ve seen yet. It solves the security hurdle (just who are you giving your credit card to?) and speed (fumbling for your wallet and credit card.)”

“Instead of fingerprint technology, CurrentC uses the clunky QR code system, an idea whose time has yet to come. To register, you have to give MCX your social security number and banking information. And, the system has already been hacked. Would you trust these folks with your info?” Graham writes. “Prediction: one by one, in weeks, if not days, many of these partners will backtrack, and end up signing with Apple….”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Unlike CurrentC, 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 “Heysailor” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Meijer first to break MCX ranks, keeps Apple Pay support at its 213 stores – October 30, 2014
Feeling the heat, MCX CurrentC consortium suggests possible future switch to NFC – October 30, 2014
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. You and I may not be far off politically, issue for issue. But your incessant whining and inability to consume ANY information without immediately funneling it through a political filter — and then constant needing to regurgitate the information back at us is f-ing exhausting on the receiving end.

          Newsflash. No politician is as good as you might hope. None is as bad as their opponents would have you believe.

          It’s a little challenging living here in the gray world of reality, but by golly it makes you a much better party guest — not to mention TECHNOLOGY message board community member.

          (Sorry, it must be all the ads here in the run up . . . I snapped.)

            1. A comment with which you wholeheartedly agree. I am surprised that you did not make it first. Why don’t you save everyone on this forum some aggravation and take a trip to the border to start building that wall.

            2. Melvin, you sure are mean-spirited. If only you would reach out to others, afterall, we are all brothers in the family of man. This land is your land, this land is my land, from Californi to the New York island…Melvin, this land was made for you and me. 🙂

          1. Thank you very much, midwestmac. Thanks for showing that you can hold a political viewpoint without having to attach it to everything. Thanks for showing that you can hold a political viewpoint without being a glasshole about it.

            Let’s return to a point at which we can work together for the common good.

        2. why do you think they would want to register democrat ?

          maybe they are so happy to get across the border and get a below minimum wage job picking crops on big corporate farms, that they will register republican – just like the farm and orchard owners who make big money off of cheap illegal labor, by giving them those jobs.

          1. then let them apply for immigration legally like every other generation of nationalities before them. At no juncture in my comments did I condone the hiring of illegal aliens,

            At your leisure, please read the definition of “illegal.”

            1. Last time I talked to an immigration attorney, INS was processing applications from 2003, and that was in about 2011. So INS is about 8 years behind on applications.

        3. There is only one political party that has been convicted in Federal Court for Vote Fraud and it is the Republican Party. The former head of the New Hampshire GOP, if memory serves correctly.

          The problem is not voter fraud- the problem is voter suppression and the authors of all these new voter suppression bills just happen to be Republicans and the language just so happens to conform to Koch Funded ALEC’s model bill.

          As to language:
          One is a Democrat the party is The Democratic Party- not the Democrat Party (in the US). Tebaggers are not members of the Republic Party- they are tea bagging tools of the Republican Party a.k.a. GOP (Gang of Perverts).

            1. Tea Party Teabaggers. They are all Republicans- just the crazy right wing. Used to work with the GOP until the crazy folk took over. The old school Republicans are all gone now- many to the Democratic Party.

              I have a PhD in Wingnuttery, having come of age in the South and working back in the day for Republican candidates. Went door to door for Reagan/Bush in 1980- in the South when it was not the thing to do in the south.

              Lincoln, Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower and T Roosevelt would not be welcome in today’s GOP. Deficits only matter when Democrats are in the White House these days, civil liberties are on the chopping block and they put party ahead of country.

            2. I am not in either party- they both serve big money and give not a damn about us. But the Democrat Party thing is just a right wing dig at Democrats. The GOP of today is grave threat to the functioning of our country.

  1. It feels like they still need to be punished for even considering such a foolhardy change in the face of all common sense and tech acceptance. Maybe a years worth of impacted negative profits ought show them it’s not nice to fool with consumer data.

  2. Dear MDN:

    This consortium will be done in by their own incompetence along with the bad news. I may not even need to boycott anything. This may all be over by year’s end.

    1. It will be very interesting to see how many transactions Pay has following the holiday shopping season. And I sincerely hope Apple releases that number and makes a big deal about it! Apple needs to promote Pay like crazy with some TV ads and other marketing blitzes before CurrentC even attempts to launch. That way so many people will wonder why they have to get QR codes, scan this, do it differently here, and why they can’t simply hold their iPhone up to pay that CurrentC will be totally decimated before it’s even rolled out.

      1. If you watched the World Series, Mastercard ran a number of commercials about Apple Pay. Expect much more as we approach the holiday shopping season.

        On the other hand, CurrentC is planning a Stoogeathon at your local movie theater next weekend…

      2. Apple needs to take advantage of Christmas shoppers. If I have a choice to purchase products from two stores that are similar, and one takes ApplePay and one doesn’t, which one do you think is going to get my business?

        I went to Wendy’s the other day, and asked if they took ApplePay, the people there were unfamiliar with it. Coincidently, when checking my email later that day, I got an email from Wendy’s informing me that they indeed except ApplePay.

        It’s going to take time for people to familiarize themselves with which companies except it and who doesn’t. A wise retailer should be doing all they can to educate their staff as well as informing the public they except ApplePay.

        It’s like a magnet that can pull in potential shoppers. I can’t see how Apple can lose this battle. It’s such a huge win win for retailers and consumers.

  3. A committee-designed data acquisition system wants you to provide your bank account number, SSAN and drivers license number for input into one location that is in no way accountable to you or controllable by you. What could possibly go wrong? What, you say, it already has?

    Two choices here, play or don’t play. Since the consortium players all still take credit and debit cards, if I need them I can use that. This looks like a game with NO upside for the MCX members (As if merchants could exchange customers anyway. These guys poisoned their own mindset when they chose their name. We still get to choose.)

  4. Like most small business owners, I hate credit card processing companies and the fees they take from every purchase a customer makes with a credit card. recently I decided to switch credit card processing companies, which means a new terminal. I simply said “I want to be able to take Apple Pay”, and First Data said, we handle those, and here’s the equipment you need. Didn’t need to worry about my bank, or Apple, or any other bank, and we’re good to go. 500 grand to ask to get on board with MCX?? Fat chance.

  5. Boycotting is fine, but writing bad reviews is better. Give 1 star reviews on Yelp and mention lack of Apple Pay. Write a negative 1 star review in the App Store. And write to retailers telling them that you won’t shop there.

    1. I only have one problem with that strategy. Three weeks from now, CVS, Rite-Aid, Best Buy and others will backtrack and decide to turn on their NFCs and resume accepting Apple Pay. What will then happen with all those 1-star reviews? Will all those who gave them one star only because they didn’t accept Apple Pay now go back and revise their reviews? I’m not quite sure that will be the case.

      1. The ratings were for the MCX app, just to get their attention when the unwitting started to download it and give it a try later when system is activated. The one star ratings will remain a red flag.

        If they turn NFC back on, Pay will start working again.

            1. I’m not going to call you the illiterate douche; I’ll just say that many of us check MDN on occasion from our office computers, which are still overwhelmingly Windows, and instead of that neat little Apple logo, they show some weird character (perhaps Chinese?) that likely has nothing to do with Apple (the company), or apple (the fruit).

      2. They will just have to earn their reputations back.

        That is the just price of pissing off your own customers and a warning to others who want to mine customers instead of serve them.

      3. @Predrag,

        I hear what you’re saying, and yes, many people won’t (or can’t) go back and change their reviews. However, that’s what makes negative reviews so powerful in online directories. It hits them hard… really hard. While ratings and reviews in some cases can and will be altered, for the most part the damage is lasting and recovery from it takes a long time.

        When they start to see a bunch of 1 star reviews for a CVS that’s right next to a Walgreens with 5 star reviews and it’s due to CurrentC versus Apple Pay, CVS management will look to stop the bleeding. And the same applies to the other merchants.

  6. Everyone forgets there is a win win case. Like JC Penny’s you can get their card and link to in on iPhone. That way both can win. If you want to.

    My friend loves penny’s and gets lots of coupons tied to their card.
    Just saying. Options.

  7. I wonder how long it will take before Apple flips the switch and ‘cuts out the middle man’ like CurrentC is trying to do? Just reroute the transactions to some little bank in Nevada with a branch built right next to their data center in Reno. Sneaky, Apple.

    1. I don’t think Apple wants to be a bank, but they would almost certainly partner with a card provider that lowered its fees.

      But customers don’t really see the fees, and credit cards often give them back to the customer as rewards. So lowering fees doesn’t do anything good for a customer.

      In theory if everyone stopped using credit cards prices would come down, but that is not going to happen without some more immediate benefit to customers for lowering merchants fees.

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