JPMorgan Chase buying up MCX technology after Apple Pay competitor CurrentC failed to launch

Remember CurrentC, the mobile payment service that kept getting in Apple’s way when Apple Pay launched a few years ago? MCX is the merchant consortium that was behind the QR code-based mobile payment service that ultimately never launched, and today JPMorgan Chase announced that it has acquired MCX’s payment technology.

Chase was one of a few major banks to partner with Apple when Apple Pay launched back in the fall of 2014, but several retailers including CVS and Walmart blocked or denied plans to accept Apple Pay due to an upcoming CurrentC app and commitments to MCX.

Some CurrentC backers including Rite Aid and Best Buy eventually changed their course and added Apple Pay as a payment option in stores, and last summer efforts to bring CurrentC to market finally ended.

While Chase remains an Apple Pay backer, its alternative in-house payment service called Chase Pay launched last fall and is based on MCX technology according to the firm. With MCX’s efforts to bring CurrentC to market dead, JPMorgan Chase says it has acquired MCX to help bring Chase Pay to more retailers.

JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has agreed to acquire MCX’s payments technology to help expand Chase Pay, the mobile and digital wallet for Chase customers. MCX, a network of America’s largest merchants, was the premier launch partner for Chase Pay in October 2015. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks.

MCX’s members were already connected to MCX payments technology, which made it seamless to connect to Chase Pay.  Chase executives wanted to acquire the technology to use in lieu of building separate parallel technology to serve non-MCX members.

As we noted when Chase Pay launched last fall, only a few retailers accept the bank’s QR code-based payment option which relies on the Chase mobile app on a smartphone to work. Best Buy and Starbucks which both accept Apple Pay were launch partners for Chase Pay, and JPMorgan Chase says Walmart, Shell, or other MCX members will start accepting Chase Pay in the future.

Fingers crossed that this is good news for Apple Pay adoption was well since Chase has no resistance to Apple’s payment service and their other Chase Pay partners already accept it.


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