After three years of planning to enter the mobile payments space, US-based retail consortium Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) is finally set to start rolling out the technology required for enabling mobile payments. Several retailers and restaurants in the Columbus, Ohio area will be the first to get the mobile payment upgrade.
On September 3, 2014, MCX unveiled CurrentC—the brand for its new payments network. CurrentC was unveiled as a mobile payment system exclusive to MCX members. MCX came up with CurrentC as an alternative for retailers to reduce the interchange fees they have to pay banks and to be able to accept mobile payments without costly upgrades.
CurrentC has the backing of some of the world’s largest merchants, including Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and Best Buy. It is designed to work on all types of smartphones and allows users to transact with their app instead of a physical card or cash. On the contrary, Apple Pay and upcoming services like Samsung Pay let consumers pay by providing account information from cards like Visa, MasterCard, etc.
CurrentC recently announced that it will begin a public beta of its app in Columbus, Ohio in a few weeks. According to people familiar with the plans of the exchange partners, the technology will be installed in the coming weeks.
When the MCX partnership was founded, the partners agreed to not begin the adoption of mobile payment systems for a while. Since the agreement is going to expire this week, it gives the partner firms the freedom to use mobile payment systems from Apple, Google and Samsung, among others.
In April, Best Buy— a member of MCX and a rival of Walmart—announced the acceptance of Apple Pay. Customers who own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus can use Apple Pay to make purchases on the Best Buy app.
Recently, national drug store chain Rite Aid announced that it will be accepting Apple Pay and Google Wallet from August 15 at all 4,600 stores present across the US.