Mobile Commerce

Apple Pay Retail Rival CurrentC Is Finally Ready To Launch

CurrentC is almost ready to join the heated mobile wallet app race.

It’s been nearly three years since the Merchant Customer Exchange founded the mobile payment technology referred to as CurrentC — a technology that was created by major retailers Walmart, Target and Best Buy — to enable consumers to pay using their smartphones.

Now that the tech has made its way through its initial testing, it’s moving on to a limited trial run as soon as next month, Bloomberg reported.

There was plenty of chatter about CurrentC when Apple Pay launched after it was discovered that some retailers were barred from accepting Apple Pay because of their contracts with MCX. Because the retail group was developing the technology that was similar to Apple Pay, the contract clause stated that accepting the other mobile payment form would be a conflict of interest.

It’s a move that caused Rite Aid to abruptly deactivate its terminals and announce that it would no longer be able to accept Apple Pay. A few other similar cases followed.

Then, following the launch of Apple Pay, things were slow on the news front about CurrentC — until Best Buy jumped ship, saying it was leaving once its exclusivity deal with MCX expired this summer. And the drama continued.

On the heels of the announcement that founding retailer Best Buy had resolved to start taking Apple Pay in stores later this year, MCX brought another piece of less-than-cheerful news to the marketplace: CEO Dekkers Davidson will be leaving MCX to pursue “other opportunities.”

Now, as CurrentC prepares to officially launch into the mobile payment space, there’s still one hurdle it needs to clear. With competitors like Apple Pay, and soon to be Android Pay and Samsung Pay, CurrentC might have to get in line to convince consumers that its digital wallet is the way to pay.

CurrentC also has to prove its worth on the security front since it was hacked during a testing period in 2014. In an interview with Bloomberg, Julie Conroy, a payments security analyst at Aite Group, suggested that “trust is going to be a huge issue,” for CurrentC winning over American consumers.

“I’m increasingly skeptical of their chance to really make a dent,” she later added.

MCX plans to launch the CurrentC app sometime in the third quarter, Bloomberg reported, citing a spokeswoman for Lowe’s (also part of the group). But Lowe’s won’t be part of CurrentC’s launch.

Bloomberg was also able to confirm the public test launch date with Scott Rankin, MCX’s chief operating officer, who said MCX was “making good progress” on helping the CurrentC app get to the market.

“We expect there to be more than one successful player in mobile payments, and we expect to be one of them,” Rankin said.

But for now, CurrentC has its own list of tasks to accomplish before it can join the ranks of Apple Pay and other mobile pay competitors. This includes signing major credit card companies who are key to getting those bank-issued cards to work with the CurrentC app.

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