Things aren’t looking good for what was supposed to be Apple Pay’s arch nemesis.
Now MCX’s CEO is saying that the app won’t be available for everyone until 2016 at the earliest.
In an interview with Re/code, MCX CEO Brian Mooney confirmed that CurrentC is still in development and will be piloted by a small test group in Columbus, Ohio in the coming weeks.
MCX and CurrentC were first thrown into the spotlight last October when CVS and Rite Aid blocked Apple Pay and competing services at their stores. The move was part of an exclusivity arrangement with MCX that expires this month, according to Re/code.
Now plenty of retailers backing MCX are turning on support for Apple Pay as well, including Dunkin Doughnuts, Best Buy, Kohls, and most recently Rite Aid.
Instead of the fingerprint-verified, NFC approach for mobile payments introduced by Apple, CurrentC will require customers to scan a QR code on their screen. The app doesn’t let you pay using a credit card. Instead, you have to directly tie in a checking account, a retailer’s own payment card, or a gift card.
The real idea behind CurrentC is to create a mobile payments platform that saves retailers more money than competing services like Apple Pay. When you pay for something with Apple Pay using a credit card, the retailer absorbs the credit card company’s transaction fee, which can sometimes be as high as 3% of the purchase.
CurrentC intentionally doesn’t support credit or debt cards to avoid these fees.
The one thing CurrentC had going for it last year was its plans to support loyalty programs from specific retailers, such as Macy’s Star Rewards program. But Apple Pay will support loyalty programs as well when iOS 9 ships to the public this fall.
CurrentC is entering a very crowded space. Besides Apple Pay, both Google and Samsung have new mobile payments platforms for Android launching this year.
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