USA Today has weighed in on the Apple Pay MCX CurrentC issue and is not pulling any punches. MCX seems to be what would have happened had “the Three Stooges had been given the assignment of introducing a new and safer way for consumers to pay at some of the biggest retail stores.”
For those who don’t know, the Three Stooges was a popular American comedy team popular from the 1930s through the 1960s and were essentially known for broad slapstick, including poking people in the eyes and lots of violence. In short, the comparison is not likely to be seen by MCX backers as a compliment. (Then again, it could also offend some hardcore Three Stooges fan, so it works for many things.)
The argument that USA Today made is that Apple Pay has been well received, is easier to use than CurrentC and is likely more secure. But the column is not solely arguing that CurrentC will not do well. It is arguing that it CurrentC will never even launch. “The odds that you’ll ever see CurrentC rolled out nationally are slim to none,” penned columnist Jefferson Graham.
The fact that MCX has already been attacked by cyberthieves—who grabbed data from E-mail—gave the columnist his strongest talking point.
“The new iPhones have built-in NFC (near field communication) chips that talk directly to pinpads near the cash register. Put your credit card information into the Passbook app on the iPhone for Apple Pay. Wave the phone at the pinpad, and secure the transaction with your fingerprint from Apple’s TouchID. CurrentC doesn’t work with credit cards. You heard me. This mobile payment system connects your checking account, and MCX says the advantage is it can add in coupons and loyalty information from the retailers,” the column said. “But those free airline miles that millions of consumers have come to love from their credit cards, which encourage them to make big purchases? Nah, not at our store. Instead of fingerprint technology, CurrentC uses the clunky QR code system, an idea whose time has yet to come. To register, you have to give MCX your social security number and banking information. And, the system has already been hacked. Would you trust these folks with your info?”
He also argued that the highly-publicized moved by Rite-Aid and CVS—which halted accepting Apple Pay transactions as soon as they realized that they actually were—will inadvertently seal MCX’s fate.
“The action from the drug store giants had the reverse effect: it mobilized the online world (nearly 5,000 scathing 1 star reviews of the CurrentC app on the Google Play and iTunes app stores) and shined a light on just how backwards and un-consumer friendly the merchant plan is,” the column said. “Prediction: one by one, in weeks, if not days, many of these partners will backtrack, and end up signing with Apple, and/or revisiting Google Wallet.”