MCX’s convoluted ‘CurrentC’ payment system to test in single market in mid-2015

“The mobile payments space is about to get more crowded: CurrentC, a platform backed by some of the country’s biggest retailers, will launch in the next few months and give Apple, Google and Samsung added competition,” Martyn Williams reports for IDG News Service. “Few details are known about the service, but it is expected to merge payments and loyalty benefits and will give retailers additional insight into the spending habits of customers who are members.”

“Merchant Content Exchange (MCX), the operator of the service, plans to make it available to the public in mid 2015, but in a single market at first,” Williams reports. “CurrentC got a higher profile in October last year when pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid, both MCX members, stopped accepting Apple Pay a week after it launched. At the time it was widely interpreted as an attempt to block the rival service while CurrentC was getting off the ground.”

“With CurrentC, a user points their phone camera at a one-time barcode displayed on a retailer terminal to trigger payment,” Williams reports. “That’s not perhaps as easy as NFC payments, which can be accomplished by bringing a phone near a reader.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A poor approximation that vaguely resembles something Apple’s already been offering for quite some time. Sounds perfect for Android settlers who are used to trading away their privacy via inferior technology for nothing much in return. Too bad fragmandroid settlers don’t like to spend money. Seems like a poor foundation upon which to build a customer tracking system masquerading as a payment service.

CurrentC. The mobile payment system for the ignorati.

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

20 Comments

    1. QR codes…

      I can’t count the times I have been filling up my tank at a gas station and this inexplicably stupid and infuriating voice says “scan you tag now.” Oh how I have wanted to take a mallet to that thing.

    2. For some reason, the ability to be able, finally, to scan QR codes, excited me when I got my first iPhone. The excitement lasted until I scanned a few. It… opens a web page. Yay? Looking back, I honestly don’t know what I expected.

      ——RM

  1. More crowded in the sense that adding one more person to the SuperBowl makes it technically more crowded. I can’t see it getting a foothold or growing in the wake of ApplePay.

  2. Another way for spam mailers to get your info and inundate you with even more span. CurrentC has disaster written all over it. But I’m sure the riff-raff who use it will like the additional attention the get with all their new emails.

  3. Any system that demands direct access to your checking account, is backed by WallyMart, is more convoluted than Apple Pay and was conceived to shaft the credit card companies of their transaction fees is bound to be a huge success…. /s
    It will never see Christmas.

    1. Not to mention the fact that if there is any fraudulent transactions on your bank account YOU are responsible for them not current c. Unlike debit and credit cards that don’t make YOU responsible for fraud.

    1. Even worse, I’ve had times when I’ve tried to scan a QR code and it took forever because I had to hold my hand perfectly still until the camera focused. What a major PITA.

      ——RM

    2. Ironically, my son was just exited to find out my epson label printer would print QR from his iPhone.

      He is an RA, and turns out the college kids ignore most of the stuff they put on the residence hall bulletin boards – but for some reason will scan QR codes.

  4. With all these also-ran phone payment systems popping up (CurrentC and all the retailer-specific apps), here’s a pro tip for using Apple Pay: When the cashier asks how you want to pay, do NOT say “I’m paying with my phone” or “Apple Pay”. The cashier just gets confused. Just say “I’m using my credit card”. The cashier will push the button for “credit card”, which also turns on the NFC, and Apple Pay will work.

    I learned this the hard way at Subway. When I take out my phone, sometime they think I’m using the Subway app. Now I just say “I’m swiping my card”, and the little NFC lights show up on the terminal, telling me it’s ready for Apple Pay.

    ——RM

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