Apple Pay rival ‘CurrentC’ to get limited trial run in stores next month

“After almost three years in development, the retail industry’s answer to Apple Pay is finally getting off the ground,” Matthew Townsend and Elizabeth Dexheimer report for Bloomberg. “A mobile payment application developed by Merchant Customer Exchange — a company founded in August 2012 with funding from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. — has been tested by employees of the retailers and will get a limited trial run next month in stores, according to three people familiar with the situation. That means shoppers will soon be able to use the technology, called CurrentC, to pay for items with their phones.”

“The challenge for CurrentC now is playing catch-up against established apps from Apple,” Townsend and Dexheimer report, “as well as explaining to customers why they should bother using it. When Apple Pay rolled out last year, CurrentC was derided by critics as a lower-tech alternative that retailers supported because it would give them tighter control over shoppers’ transactions.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Limited trial run.” What a joke.

“While MCX is getting closer to releasing its app, there are plenty of hurdles. It hasn’t signed deals with major credit-card companies like Visa to use bank-issued card accounts within the app. That means a shopper wouldn’t be able to use, say, a Visa debit card from JPMorgan Chase & Co. This can be done with competing products like Apple Pay. Instead, users of MCX’s app will be limited to private-label store cards, like Target’s REDcard, or they’ll have to give MCX their checking-account details,” Townsend and Dexheimer report. “Another looming headache for MCX: The retailers involved signed three-year exclusivity agreements that prohibited other mobile-payment options. Those restrictions end next month, according to some of the people. In a sign of what might be ahead, MCX member Best Buy said in April that it would begin accepting Apple Pay in its stores later this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: CurrentC makes the Microsoft Zune look like a viable product. DOA.

Apple Pay stands to gain from MCX’s CurrentC disarray – May 18, 2015
Apple Pay is destroying MCX’s CurrentC – May 11, 2015
Best Buy capitulates, to accept Apple Pay despite CurrentC allegiance – April 27, 2015
Major retailers see Apple Pay wave – November 17, 2014
In only 3 weeks, Apple Pay is changing how consumers pay – November 17, 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

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


    1. You made me think of Thelma and Louise…

      I’m thinking more like walking across a neutron star. You know where you’d weigh about 290,109,600,000 times more on a neutron star.

      So a 150 lb person would weigh 43,516,440,000,000 lbs on the surface of a neutron star. You’d also fall very fast, from Wiki:
      “the gravitational force of a typical neutron star is such that if an object were to fall from a height of one meter, it would only take one microsecond to hit the surface of the neutron star, and would do so at around 2000 kilometers per second, or 7.2 million kilometers per hour.”

      I expect this CurrenC to faceplant about that hard.

      1. The real problem is the tidal force, the gravitational differential would rend your body before you ever landed, and likely put you in a jellified orbit like the ice rings of Saturn

          1. Actually, the idea was that electron and protons were shmushed together into neutrons. But any way you slice it, those heavenly bodies are nasty specimens.

      1. In the U.S. Apple Pay is by far the most popular mobile payment option. In the UK where they already have an extensive NFC payment network, it’s taking off very well. As the Apple Pay gets rolled out in more countries that have fully adopted NFC, like Japan, expect to see it explode.

        Later this year in the U.S. When retailers are forced to update their payment terminals to support chip and pin cards (as they’ll become liable for credit card fraud if they don’t), expect to see Apple Pay become ubiquitous in the area of mobile payments.

        1. “Later this year in the U.S. When retailers are forced to update their payment terminals to support chip and pin cards (as they’ll become liable for credit card fraud if they don’t), expect to see Apple Pay become ubiquitous in the area of mobile payments.”

          That’s like poetry, love that fact. I did not know this was about to occur, this definitely means the huge lead Apple Pay has in this area will really matter very soon.

      2. Yes, and for all the convenience of using my ApplePay at my local BigY supermarket, they still require a ‘signature’ on their stupid electronic ‘signature’ gadget. That has to be their personal wrinkle not something Apple cooked up. A stupid nuisance…

    1. Registering the accounts is the FATAL FLAW in this BS…….it has been mentioned/discussed but, never mind the facts,,,,,,AmeriKa is not paying attention to this BS……
      However, everyone knows the Kartrashian’s daily “dindo nuffin” schedule etc etc……….
      Last one out flush the toilet and turn out the light……..

    2. I am glad you mentioned that. I had read sometime ago that to use the CurrentC card system you had to link your bank account to the card system which resulted in an automatic withdrawal (like paypal) from your account – not a credit card system like we have now but a debit card system. You charge something using CurrentC and the money is taken from your account immediately – that’s the way I understood it to work. Is that correct?

  1. People do like their rewards and achievements, and properly targeted ads and in-store promotions are bound to catch on. Bargain shopping and coupon clipping are hallowed activities. MCX hoped to capitalise on all that in a big way, but they took too long to roll out CurrentC. Other payment systems including Apple Pay have a foothold and, as they are less cumbersome and invasive for the customer, I expect a lukewarm uptake. Be on the lookout for some participating merchants deciding to offer bonanza promotions and killer sales events to goose initial signups to this payment system.

    1. In iOS 9 Apple Pay will also support store cards and discount cards. I think they will help to further solidify its spot as the number one form of mobile payments.

    2. Some people really need every discount that they can get and will not be too worried about how giving away personal information. They may not even have a credit card. Those people might try CurrentC.. In general, however, I concur that the uptake will be slow and fairly modest in total unless MCX dumps lots of major discounts into the promotion of the service.

      1. Your faith in the American public is touching.

        Don’t forget – HUGE numbers of them own Androcrap phones, HUGE numbers of them own Windblown computers and HUGE numbers of them use data leeching services from Google. I see no real reason that many wouldn’t embrace this garbage.

        1. And those people will be the first to turn on CurrentC when they realize that (at the very least) using it will make checking out longer and more complicated.

  2. The biggest flaw in CurrentC is that it uses ACH (automated Clearing House) check transfers from the consumers’ bank accounts to the merchants’ banks. Under banking regulations, a consumer has only 48 hours to challenge the validity of any ACH transfer before the transfer is irrevocable. The legal assumption is that the consumer has obviously provided the merchant with the routing number and bank account number with the intention that the transaction take place and therefor it is a legitimate transaction and therefor legitimate and cannot be reversed. The consumer has no recourse to put such transactions in contest. Their only hope is the convince the merchant to reverse the charge, if they can find the merchant who made the charge to their account. There’s no guarantee they authorized it and they have only that 48 hour window to do so.

    1. Yep, thats right.
      At least with a credit card the issuer stands as the middleman for the transaction if there is a dispute or fraud.
      Debt cards and checks are EXTREMELY risky……
      Sure, be the crash test dummy if you like……..I’m gonna pass.
      Apple Pay for me so far has been FLAWLESS!!

      1. Perhapsi did miss your intent, but if the authorities did have the owner’s passcode they would have no need of Apple’s assistance in deciphering the contents of the device. They could read it themselves.

  3. My mind is spinning and my eye are bulging out!

    Did I read that correctly, that they are going to launch this thing without an agreement with major VISA debit cards?!?! I guess this thing is debit-only… no credit cards. I’m a little behind on this ¢urren¢y Bizarro World.

    With all the data breaches the US has suffered, a less secure, weaker consumer protection model is to the one to be used?

    Shaking my head and putting off to Cocktail Hour in my Yugo.

    1. Just the other day was a story about a debit transaction that glitched, the bank registered the transaction but the retailer didn’t. The retailer refused to hand over the goods, the bank claims it went through and won’t refund the money.

      Screw that, this is why I stick with credit cards, where the actual money stays in your own account until you say otherwise.

    2. Well, yeah: The whole point of CurrentC is to eliminate credit cards from the transaction, so that the merchant doesn’t have to pay fees. The idea is that CurrentC users will allow merchants to deduct payments directly from their checking accounts, cutting out the middleman. One problem with this scheme: there is literally no reason for customers to use it.

      It’s not convenient. You have to fumble with your phone, unlock it, open the app, and then mess around with QR codes. No one is going to go through that hassle to make a purchase unless there are incentives. But if the merchant offers incentives, it defeats the whole point of bypassing the credit card issuers, which was to keep more profit for themselves.

      The exclusivity agreements were for three years, and they couldn’t get the damn product out in that time. Wow.

      The whole thing is a f’ing joke. Right now, the only reason I can figure that they haven’t pulled the plug is the Sunk Costs Fallacy. They just figure they’ve dumped too much money in to turn back now, so they’ll continue ahead until the software fails in production.


  4. I think Better Business Bureau Complaints should be lodged against retailers that push this thing on people personally.

    It’s not consumer focused. It’s a grab for personal information. I haven’t seen anything but their own guarantees proving its secure. The reviews for it on the App Store average it at around 1.5 stars over something around 3500 votes so it’s obviously a lousy app.

    I kinda hope its not DOA personally. Because otherwise it won’t have a chance to be hung, drawn and quartered. LOL.

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