Here’s a bad sign for CurrentC, the fledgling mobile payment system in development by a consortium of retailers.
CurrentC is sending emails to people warning them “that unauthorised third parties obtained the email addresses of some of you.”
It doesn’t sound like it’s the worst breach in the world, but it’s definitely not good since CurrentC is just getting started.
CurrentC is in the news this week because of Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment system for the iPhone 6.
CurrentC is backed by MCX, the Merchants Consumer Exchange, which is a group of retailers trying to create a mobile payment system. It’s being spearheaded by Wal-Mart.
The idea behind CurrentC is for retailers to have lots of data on what their customers are doing. They also want to cut down on the 2%-3% fees that retailers are paying to credit card companies. CurrentC connects directly to your bank account, bypassing the need to use credit cards.
The retailers in MCX are not accepting any other mobile payments, including Apple Pay.
A PR rep for CurrentC confirmed the email saying,
Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorised third parties obtained the email addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who had expressed interest in the app. Many of these email addresses are dummy accounts used for testing purposes only. The CurrentC app itself was not affected.
We have notified our merchant partners about this incident and directly communicated with each of the individuals whose email addresses were involved. We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously. MCX is continuing to investigate this situation and will provide updates as necessary.
It’s good that the CurrentC app wasn’t compromised. In reality, this isn’t that big of a deal. Getting your email is not the end of the world.
However, it’s embarrassing since Wal-Mart previously told us it wasn’t supporting Apple Pay because, “Ultimately, what matters is that consumers have a payment option that is widely accepted, secure, and developed with their best interests in mind.”