Mobile player CurrentC to roll out this year; Apple Pay adds 26 CUs
April 7, 2015
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (4/8/15)--CurrentC, a mobile payments platform backed by some of the country's biggest retailers, will launch in the next few months and is expected to compete with Apple Pay and Google for market share.
The new service is expected to merge payments and loyalty benefits and provide retailers with detailed information on the spending habits of participating customers (IDG News Service April 7).
CurrentC is currently being tested in several undisclosed markets around the United States, with participation limited to employees of retailers such as Walmart, 7-Eleven, Dunkin Donuts, Sears, Best Buy, Exxon Mobil and Gap.
CurrentC's operator, Merchant Content Exchange (MCX), is expected offer the service in a single market initially before the operator of the service, before rolling it out nationwide in the mid-2015.
CurrentC captured media attention last year when pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid, both MCX members, stopped accepting Apple Pay a week after it launched. At the time it was widely interpreted as an attempt to block the rival service while CurrentC was getting off the ground.
To use CurrentC, a user points a phone camera at a one-time barcode displayed on a retailer terminal to trigger payment. The payment takes place using a previously registered bank account, so no payment information is exchanged or transmitted in stores.
Critics say the CurrentC platform is not as easy making mobile payments via NFC payments, which is accomplished by bringing the phone near a reader. MCX argues that barcodes are more widely supported than NFC in smartphones.
A Bluetooth version CurrentC is also being tested.
Also on Tuesday, Apple announced it added 39 financial institutions, including 26 credit unions, to the roster of institutions offering support for Apple Pay, bringing the total to more than 180 since the service's launch in October 2014 (Apple Insider April 7).