Apple Pay vs. MCX’s CurrentC: Convenience vs. greed

“Most critics of CurrentC (and there are plenty) are slamming it because of its technology, security or ease of use,” Ken Segall writes for Observatory. “However, what I find most disturbing is the obvious motivation for CurrentC — and the obvious end result if the consortium should realize their dreams.”

“The bottom line is that people can tell whether a company is acting in the customers’ interest or its own self-interest,” Segall writes. “Which isn’t good news for CurrentC.”

“There is precious little about CurrentC that makes life easier for customers. It’s designed to benefit the retailers. It requires more effort than Apple Pay, it latches directly onto our bank accounts, it requires us to surrender our social security numbers and it bypasses the fraud protection that comes with credit cards,” Segall writes. “In this world, one earns a profit by providing a valuable service. Apple Pay makes in-store purchases totally simple, and it doesn’t cost customers a dime. It’s the credit card companies who will foot the bill, because Apple Pay makes it easier for customers to use their cards. So everyone wins.”

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 allow their customers to utilize Apple Pay.

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.

Related articles:
Apple Pay vastly superior and much better positioned than MCX’s CurrentC – November 1, 2014
CurrentC, MCX retailers’ answer to Apple Pay, faces doom – October 31, 2014
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


    1. How to combat retailers that go out of their way to disable Apple Pay?

      1) go into a Walmart, CVS, Rite-aid, etc., and fill up a shopping cart full of the crap they sell.
      2) take cart to the checkout line.
      3) swipe your iPhone over the payment terminal, as you would in a forward thinking store
      4) when it doesn’t register, look puzzled and say: “Whoops, left my wallet at home” and leave them with a cart full of their crap to re-shelve…

  1. For big retailers like Walmart and Target, I think the information is more important to them than the fees, but for the other 40-something members of MCX that can’t scale like them, the fees are what’s driving their participation. Half the names on that list will be out of business in 5 years and they’re clawing for any revenue stream they can.

    You didn’t think the MCX members were going to pass that savings onto the consumer, did you?

    1. There are other ways for the merchant to capture the consumer transaction data: They can ask for the loyalty card, upc etc up front (before transaction)–then the consumer can choose to use practically ANY form of payment (Apple Pay, credit card, Google wallet etc). It’s definitely about fees. Just about every major merchant now tries to get you to sign up for one of their own store-branded credit cards w/ tones of enticements to sidestep fees.

  2. “’The bottom line is that people can tell whether a company is acting in the customers’ interest or its own self-interest,’ Segall writes.”

    Absolutely not. The vast majority of people out there have very little idea just how much commercial companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and others *currently* track their online habits. They will have even less knowledge about how Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid, et al. will track their actions.

    This is why Amazon, Google, Facebook, and others can so easily gather the information they do. The vast majority of people either don’t get that their actions are the source of those companies income, or they don’t care.

    What they will care about is that they will have to give MCX *direct* access to their bank accounts. What they will care about is that it is much, much less convenient to use. What they will care about is when Wallmart gets hacked and their identities are stolen.

    People should care about corporations tracking their every move and every purchase. Unfortunately, too large a subset of the population just don’t care.

    Think governments are bad and tracking everything we do? Think again.

    I only have to watch “The President’s Analyst” again (saw that over 45 years ago) to see who the real culprits are. Yes, it wasn’t a great movie. Yes, it was a satire. But, it showed even then a few people were concerned with various organizations tracking them. Yet, even as now, the movie flopped because, among other things, the vast majority of people just don’t care.

    1. I’ve always said that if Google were forced to be explicit about all of the data it maintained on individuals, people would avoid their services like the plague.

      I don’t know it’s necessarily the case that people don’t care about these practices, it’s just that companies that base their business models on this information are so duplicitous about what it is they collect.

    2. Yes. CurrentC will fail for two reasons, and they’re both really simple and don’t require a lot of analysis:

      1 – People are not comfortable with giving out access to their checking accounts. Sure, we accept it for things like paying bills online, but this is different.

      2, the bigger one – It’s a pain in the ass to use. It’ll see a brief flurry of use from the novelty factor and then people will put it away. Most people just want to pay and GTFO of the store. They don’t have the patience to scan QR codes.


  3. No, they hate Apple Pay because with Apple Pay, they will still be required to pay transaction fees to credit card companies that add up to billions. I do not blame them for trying to avoid the credit card transaction fees. CurrentC is only one way that Wal-Mart (for example) is trying to avoid those transaction fees. Another Wal-Mart strategy: offer their own debit/gift cards, which they are pushing heavily.

    Seriously, this is not nearly as much about Apple versus the retailers on behalf of the consumer as it is the retailers versus the credit card companies with Apple siding with the credit card companies (and banks).

    Incidentally, Google Wallet allows you to bypass the credit cards because it allows – and frankly encourages – gift cards, PayPal and other forms of payment that do not include credit cards. Which is why the retailers should have supported Google Wallet long ago instead of choosing to block it (as did some carriers incidentally because they were offering their own mobile payment system at the time which ultimately failed).

    Incidentally, if you choose not to use your credit card on Google Wallet – and I do not – that basically solves any security conundrum. You can either use prepaid or gift cards, or use PayPal or other methods to populate your Google Wallet balance. That doesn’t serve the data collection/mining/resale purposes that CurrentC offers retailers, but it does avoid the credit card fees.

    1. Ability to use payment methods alternative to credit cards (cash cards, debit cards, gift cards, etc) is NOT directly related to anyone’s ability to collect data. And regardless of the payment source (credit card, PayPal account, gift card), Google Wallet clearly identifies each transcation, keeping track of it themselves, as well as giving the merchant all the necessary information about the customer. While a gift card is anonymous (it doesn’t contain any personal information of yours), your Google Wallet account isn’t, and it contains all the necessary personal data (name, age, address, plus likely a lot more), which Google happily shares with the merchant at the time of transaction. So, Google Wallet serves all the data collection/mining/resale purposes that Current C is expected to provide. The only difference is that Google Wallet may still incur some transaction fees for the merchant, while Current C will be fee-free for them.

    2. CurrentC right now as it stands will be cheaper for the masses BUT don’t think for a minute that the banks will continue to allow all those debits to go on without some charges being applied. I know that the banks where I life give out a max number of free debits with various accounts but go over the limit and the charges start to really add up.

    3. Google Wallet is a creditcard service agency that steps in between a merchant and his contracted creditcard service agent. GOOGLE takes the fees that would normally go to the merchant’s preferred company when the customer uses his credit/debit card registered through Google, not the normal channels, the fees are still paid by the merchant. Sorry, you are wrong AGAIN, atlman, as usual. Google Wallet interrupts a contractual arrangement. . . yet the CreditCard Service STILL has to pass that transaction on to Google the NFC transaction. Not good. When CVS and RiteAid shut off NFC they also deactivated GoogleWallet. Using PayPal Does track your purchases. . . or did you think that PayPal, a BANK owned by eBay does not keep track of your purchases???? Of course they do. Check the next time you log on and see their recommendations for purchase.

  4. If they want to avoid charges then why didn’t they decline credit cards? If it’s about collecting data on customers then why not offer a store loyalty card of some sort? They can collect the same data and not have the hassle of storing credit card info.

  5. I’m angry at Best Buy for not supporting Apple Pay. They make plenty of money selling Apple products and then turn around and impede some of those products’ most vital functions??? What’s up with that? Memo to Apple, remember Best Buy’s “choices” when distributing products that are in short supply.

  6. I use cash for everything. No fees ever. No one knows what or where I buy. Also, doing this you don’t impulse buy as everyone using any other form of payment does. The money I save every year just about pays for vacations

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