currentc Stories March 10, 2017

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.

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currentc Stories June 7, 2016

currentc

After laying off some 30 employees last month, The Merchant Consortium Exchange, or MCX, announced today that it is ending its the ongoing CurrentC beta test and postponing all future releases. The beta test will be suspended on June 28th, according to an email sent to beta testers in Columbus, Ohio and obtained by The Consumerist.

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currentc Stories May 17, 2016

currentc

Remember MCX CurrentC, the QR-code based mobile payment system that attempted to take on Apple Pay? Launched two years ago, it immediately started creating waves when it required its retail members to switch off Apple Pay or be fined. If that weren’t bad enough, it was quickly hacked.

Apple Pay fans made fun of the service in app reviews, and it wasn’t long before retailers started to break ranks and we saw some rapid back-pedalling on Apple Pay from one CEO before he was replaced by another.

Little has been heard from MCX since, and it’s no surprise that the consortium finally appears to be giving up on the idea – though it has stopped a little way short of admitting as much …

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currentc Stories August 11, 2015

Apple Pay iPhone 6

[Update: Statement from CVS below the fold…]

When Apple Pay launched in the US late last year, Apple’s mobile payment system was officially accepted by several launch partners and unofficially supported by even more retailers and vendors. Then a small number of retailers banded together as members of the Merchant Customer eXchange actually disabled mobile payment support at checkout in favor of an upcoming CurrentC payment system. Drug store chains CVS and Rite Aid were among the first to block Apple Pay support after initially accepting it and even prompting a response from Apple. Now Rite Aid is ending that blockade as it announced today that it will officially accept Apple Pay starting this weekend. expand full story

currentc Stories April 28, 2015

apple-pay-uk

MCX, the merchant consortium behind the Apple Pay competitor known as CurrentC, has announced today that CEO Dekkers Davidson is being replaced by Brian Mooney. MCX has given Mooney the title of interim CEO, which makes it unclear as to whether the consortium is actively looking for another CEO to replace Dekkers Davidson or if Mooney is the permanent choice.

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currentc Stories February 16, 2015

apple-pay

Apple unveiled its mobile payment service Apple Pay last September alongside the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch later rolling it out to new iPhone users in October through the free iOS 8.1 software update. Dozens of banks and credit unions have flipped the switch on Apple Pay since then as more merchants have announced support or plans to accept the new payment method.

Apple Pay, which allows users to securely pay in stores using the latest models of the iPhone simply by placing the smartphone near a special terminal, uses your existing credit or debit card without revealing personal information like your name or card number to merchants.

In practice, Apple Pay is a real delight to use as a payment method as it feels a bit like you’re skipping the payment process altogether; I imagine moving from cash and checks to debit and credit cards years ago felt similar. There’s still a social oddity about paying with your phone in many parts of the United States in 2015, though, which I’m not sure happened with the transition to using cards. expand full story

currentc Stories November 12, 2014

apple-pay

Staples shared in an announcement today that it is now accepting Apple Pay transactions at its “over 1,200 stores” in the United States for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users. Apple Pay, of course, will also be available for iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s users starting next year when paired with the upcoming Apple Watch. Apple included Staples in its list of retail partners when announcing its secure mobile payment service, although Apple noted that support would be “coming later this year” from the retailer as it was available in time for last month’s launch. expand full story

currentc Stories November 9, 2014

Walmart Apple Pay

Walmart is one of several high-profile retailers that belong to MCX, a consortium of retailers that have partnered together to create their own mobile payments service called CurrentC. Due to this commitment, the big-box retailer has opted against supporting Apple Pay in its stores. A new report offers a big reason why: high credit card transaction fees.

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currentc Stories November 5, 2014

google-wallet

While Apple Pay has grabbed all the attention in the mobile payment field, with the Google Wallet service launched back in 2011 having failed to make the same kind of splash, it appears that Google may be benefiting from the publicity generated by Apple. Sources cited by arsTechnica report that Google Wallet service has seen the number of users almost double, with a 50% increase in weekly transactions during the past couple of months …  expand full story

currentc Stories November 4, 2014

Apple Pay CurrentC

After an undeniably bad two weeks of press, MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson seems to have changed the company’s tune on CurrentC’s exclusivity policy that prompted retailers like CVS and Rite Aid to disable NFC terminals and block Apple’s iPhone 6-backed mobile payment system Apple Pay. Davidson told Re/code in an interview that MCX, the merchant consortium behind the Apple Pay competitor known as CurrentC, will lift the exclusivity policy in a matter of “months, not years.

Previously, the MCX CEO only vaguely hinted that the retail consortium would consider allowing participants to accept both CurrentC, which is still in development, and Apple Pay, which launched in the United States earlier last month, saying that the scenario “could be entirely possible.” expand full story

currentc Stories October 30, 2014

meijer

While CurrentC consortium MCX’s contracts state that members cannot accept competing forms of mobile payment, Midwest grocery chain Meijer appears to be the first member to break ranks by continuing to allow NFC payment – including Apple Pay.

Michigan Live quotes spokesman Frank Guglielmi as saying that the chain’s 213 grocery and gas outlets have no plans to block Apple Pay.

We have had the technology in our stores to accept mobile wallets for several years now. If a customer has Apple Pay capability, our hardware works with it […] We don’t plan to remove or disable these systems.

Meijer is currently shown on both Apple Pay and MCX websites:

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currentc-app

While the MCX consortium’s CurrentC mobile payment service isn’t due to launch until next year, it has been carrying out limited trials, facilitated by placing the app in the iTunes store. iPhone owners have been expressing their displeasure at the blocking of Apple Pay by MCX members by rating and reviewing the app.

At the time of writing, the app had accumulated 2,856 1-star reviews against a total of just 30 reviews giving it 2 stars or more …  expand full story

currentc Stories October 29, 2014

Apple Pay CurrentC

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. expand full story

Screenshot 2014-10-29 11.47.09

CurrentC, the much discussed infamous competitor to the Apple Pay mobile payments platform, has some more bad press coming its way. According to an email sent out this morning to its pilot program customers, the MCX service has already been hacked. According to the notice, “unauthorized third parties” obtained email address information for an unannounced number of users:

Thank you for your interest in CurrentC. You are receiving this message because you are either a participant in our pilot program or requested information about CurrentC. Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you. Based on investigations conducted by MCX security personnel, only these e-mail addresses were involved and no other information.

In an abundance of caution, we wanted to make you aware of this incident and urge you not to open links or attachments from unknown third parties. Also know that neither CurrentC nor Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) will ever send you emails asking for your financial account, social security number or other personally identifiable information. So if you are ever asked for this information in an email, you can be confident it is not from us and you should not respond.

MCX is continuing to investigate this situation and will provide updates as necessary. We take the security of your information extremely seriously, apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your support of CurrentC.

For those not following the MCX vs. Apple Pay saga, MCX powers a payments platform utilized by key retailers such as WalMart, CVS, and RiteAid. After initially supporting NFC-based payments via Apple Pay and Google Wallet, those aforementioned retailers shut down their industry standard NFC-based payment processing systems in favor of the CurrentC app from MCX.

MCX has since responded to this controversy on its website, and Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to the entire situation as a “skirmish.” Meanwhile, reports have indicated that retailers are playing along with MCX in order to avoid fines discussed in early contractual agreements. Nonetheless, Apple Pay has already amassed over a million activations, becoming the most ubiquitous mobile payments platform in just about a week.

MCX has confirmed that the email to customers is legitimate and said the following:

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mcx

MCX, the retailer consortium behind the CurrentC mobile payment system, has responded to the controversy over its members being required to block Apple Pay or face fines with some unconvincing ‘assurances.’

The first sign of trouble between MCX and Apple Pay was when CVS disabled NFC functionality from its payment terminals. When Rite Aid joined in, consumers responded by threatening to boycott MCX members.

In a blog post which MCX says is designed to “set the record straight,” it appears to do anything but …  expand full story

currentc Stories October 28, 2014

currentc

As we reported in our initial coverage of the CurrentC payment system, the New York Times has confirmed today that MCX partners working on the system are contractually required to accept CurrentC exclusively. Any retailers that decide to accept other payment services, such as Apple Pay, will be fined:

The problem is that under the terms of their MCX contractual agreement, they are not supposed to accept competing mobile payments products like Apple Pay, according to multiple retailers involved with MCX, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. If these retailers break their contracts, they will face steep fines for doing so, these people said.

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currentc Stories October 27, 2014

Apple Pay Banks

Apple Pay launched last week with widespread support at over 220,000 stores in the United States, although Walmart alongside CVS and Rite Aid are among some of the high-profile retailers that have not embraced the new mobile payments service. Now, Walmart has provided official comment as to why it doesn’t accept Apple Pay at its stores. expand full story

apple-pay

Apple has provided the following statement to Business Insider when asked about CVS and Rite Aid both blocking Apple Pay at their checkout terminals:

The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations.

Earlier today CVS confirmed in a statement to CNBC that it will not be accepting Apple Pay after users previously reported being able to the chain’s NFC terminals: expand full story

currentc Stories October 25, 2014

cvs

CVS Pharmacy has decided to disable all NFC terminals in all of its stores after it was discovered that Apple Pay would work with the hardware. CVS sent a memo to its stores, which was posted by SlashGear, saying that Apple Pay was not a supported payment type and that customers would have to choose some other payment method in order to check out.

The notice also explains the reason for the change: CVS is currently part of a consortium of retailers attempted to create an alternative mobile payment method called CurrentC. The new system isn’t based on NFC. It is, however, based on something you’ve probably seen before…

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