July 26, 2015
The CurrentC app, developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is expected to launch some time in Q3 of this year, the highly anticipated payment service will allow customers to complete a transaction with their mobile device at some of their favorite retailers. Don't get me wrong when I say anticipated. Its not that the entire country is waiting for it. Its just the loop :) Its not the first or second time that such a news has come about CurrentC. In the last couple of years it has been announced umpteen number of times that the wallet will launch. So what is different this time? We have been informed that limited trials are beginning next month as the product gets fully ready for the launch.
In April this year, MCX's CurrentC plans took a nose dive when CEO Dekkers Davidson left the company at a time when the retail consortium was taking the mobile payments initiative CurrentC towards the launch. MCX launched a beta version of CurrentC last fall under Davidson’s lead, but it remained unclear when the official launch would take place. It was speculated that CurrentC will be launched by the middle of this year, but with Dekkers leaving the firm, the future for CurrentC seemed hazy.
The Merchant Customer Exchange membership has grown over the past few years, as retailers incessantly try to keep a firm grip on their consumer-base. The Merchant Customer Exchange includes the biggest retail, dine-in and quick serve restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas companies in the U.S.
But the problems never seemed to end for MCX. It became clear with Best Buy allowing Apple Pay earlier this year that CurrentC exclusivity might not remain for long. With large consumer brands like Apple and Samsung, with huge financial muscles and technological superiority in close competition, MCX's CurrentC has never looked weaker.
Some mobile wallet users have adapted to paying with their Google Wallet and/or Apple Pay, while others have grown frustrated with having to confirm which merchants accept what form of payment. Though members of the MCX could be perceived as the Olympic All-Stars of the retail market, there is an evident race for consumers to buy into the using the app as a form of payment.
The technology software-based solution is designed to work with most POS systems. The CurrentC App is meant to act as a mobile wallet in itself, so credit cards not issued by the retailers won't be accepted and a bank account will need to be connected. The app will use QR-code technology for transactions by creating a scannable bar code. (Yes, not Biometrics, not NFC but QR-code)
The CurrentC App will continue to be tested and later launched in the upcoming months. The majority of the MCX have an app available already interacting with users. By providing loyalty rewards, promotion updates, and SMS reminders, many merchants hope that adding a payment method will be a welcomed improvement to the consumer experience. The MCX has a lot of data to work with and execution in the beginning will be key to a successful national launch in the end.
Below are some of the MCX merchants listed on the site:
Darden Concepts, Inc. (Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's, Yard House), Brinker International, Inc. (Maggiano's, Chili's), Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Bed Bath & Beyond, Christmas Tree Shops, Christmas Tree Shops andThat! or andThat!, Harmon or Harmon Face Values, buybuy BABY and World Market), Dillard's, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart, Sam's Club) Lowe's Companies, Inc., Target Brands, Inc., Gap Inc. (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy), DICK’S Sporting Company, Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Sears Holdings Corporation (Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation), Kohl’s Department Stores, Albertsons, LLC. (Acme Fresh Market Grocery Store), Wakefern Food Corp. (Price Rite), Giant Eagle®, Inc. (Giant Eagle, GetGo, Market District), Publix Asset Management Company, CVS Health Corporation, Rite Aid Corporation, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., Phillips 66 Company (76, Phillips 66, Conoco), RaceTrac, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell), Autogrill S.p.A. (HMSHost), Southwest Airlines Co., Hy-Vee, Inc., Alon Brands, Wendy’s Company, Sheetz, Inc.,, Wawa, Inc, Dunkin Brands, Inc. (Dunkin Donuts DD IP HOLDER LLC, Baskin Robins BR IP HOLDER LLC.), 7-Eleven, Inc, Kum & Go, L.C.