Earlier this week, retailers CVS and Rite Aid blocked NFC payments at their stores following the launch of Apple Pay because of their existing commitment to MCX’s CurrentC platform. Nevertheless, MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson assures that merchants accepting both CurrentC and Apple Pay “could be entirely possible” in the future.
The blockade has ignited somewhat of a controversy between Apple Pay and MCX, only worsened by the fact that it was confirmed that CurrentC suffered a security breach earlier this morning. MCX, or Merchant Customer Exchange, consists of a number of high-profile retailers that grouped together to work on their own CurrentC contactless payments platform.
Davidson added that merchants that have agreed to use the CurrentC platform have made a choice as to what kind of customer experience they want to offer, promoting the fact that CurrentC works regardless of mobile operating system. He claims that the decision isn’t about technology, but rather about customer engagement.
The chief executive confirmed that MCX does not impose a fine on merchants if they choose to accept contactless payments from Apple Pay or similar, as was originally reported by The New York Times, although it remains clear that the retailers involved are contractually obligated to not accept competing payment services if they wish to remain a member of the consortium.
“When merchants choose to work with MCX, they choose to do so exclusively and we’re proud of the long list of merchants who have partnered with us,” wrote MCX in a recent blog post. “Importantly, if a merchant decides to stop working with MCX, there are no fines.”
Davidson remained tight-lipped when asked to do a public comparison between the security features of CurrentC and Apple Pay, although he did note that customers have access to a personal information dashboard in which they can opt out of receiving location-based services or promotional offers.
In response to the recent security breach, Davidson claimed that he cannot speculate on the motivations behind the hack, but noted that CurrentC was not affected and the unauthorized disclosure of emails occurred through a third-party vendor. He would not specifically name the vendor that suffered the attack.
CurrentC is set to launch in early 2015 at participating retailers in MCX, including Walmart, Best Buy, Target, CVS, Rite Aid, Publix, Sears, Shell and 7-Eleven.