One of the upcoming mobile payment companies, CurrentC, developed an aggressive market share strategy
Some American retailers really don’t like paying the 2-3% fee to credit card companies. In fact, they dislike it so much, a new firm and technology system was developed to bypass that cost.
Merchant Customer Exchange, better known as MCX, started in 2011–with Wal-Mart leading the way–as the result of large American retailers banding together to create a their own payment system, and pocket the extra percentage points. It’s not a small gang, either. Collectively the stores represent 110,000 retail locations and process over one trillion in payments with a serious chunk coming from credit cards.
CurrentC uses QR codes, combined with tokenization, to pay. Customers link their bank accounts, and through a verification process, the cashier scans the customer’s screen flashing the QR code to pay. By shunning the NFC-system that Apple Pay employs, participating retailers have instituted a useful way to develop their market share by blocking Apple Pay. Drug store chains like Rite-Aid and CVS have already disabled their NFC payment terminals in the name of MCX “exclusivity.”
MCX doesn’t see this anti-Apple fight to gain market share as disadvantageous to consumers, rather the consumer benefits from the retailer’s ability to gather information for targeted sales, discounts in addition to a streamlined loyalty rewards program.
Still skepticism remains. As Tony Bradley comments in an article in Forbes:
Personally, I don’t even really mind the privacy aspect of it. I am OK having my shopping activity tracked and monitored. I am, however, opposed to requiring participation in the loyalty program in exchange for “discounts” that just bring the price down to where it should be in the first place. That’s just extortion.
A more important question comes from TechCrunch: is the QR technology the one most likely to be favored by consumers? Is it intuitive, effortless? And does forcing users to only choose debit cards or pre-paid store cards work as the best system behind mobile payments?
At the present time, there is little information available on CurrentC. Only one pilot in Minnesota is underway to test CurrentC at retail locations. In the interim, Apple Pay is still the de facto choice for contactless mobile payments at retailers.