November 6, 2014
It seems that MCX will eventually support other payment technologies like NFC & Bluetooth Low Energy besides QR codes. Dekkers Davidson, the CEO and Scott Rankin, the COO of MCX have revealed that MCX might be in talks with credit card companies to open up the CurrentC mobile wallet service more broadly. Bringing Apple Pay into the picture, current MCX members, who wish to accept Apple Pay exclusively, won’t be fined but would have to leave MCX eventually.
Recently Meijer, an MCX member, had cited that it is adamant on using Apple Pay and won’t be shutting down its NFC terminals. But Meijer is yet to be barred from the membership of the consortium. The sudden change in direction by MCX came to light during a conference call in which various journalists were invited. Different media houses revealed the following picture:
Techcrunch – Davidson mentioned that they are quite agnostic about the use of technology. MCX is willing to adopt technologies like NFC if required. MCX started with QR to reach the market on a broader scale but if retailers prefer NFC then they can switch to NFC protocols. MCX is also looking at other technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy for possible adoption. In a conclusive manner, David gave his views that there is no harm in competition and that two to three strong players must exist in the market as one alone cannot build the market.
New York Times – Davidson mentioned that CurrentC was developed on the QR code technology in order to get the app to customers in the fastest way possible. He also highlighted that merchants in the industry had written off NFC earlier as a futuristic option. Merchants hadn’t planned on using it until companies like Apple incorporated it and will now drive its use in the market. Retailers will always have their own incentives to look into while offering wallet services. They would eventually adopt those services which give insights on how people shop and whether they would pay lower transaction fees on a transaction basis.
PC World – Davidson mentioned that they started with a cloud-based QR code as that could work on all phones unlike NFC. He also mentioned that the driving force behind CurrentC was to build relationships between merchants and customers keeping the technology used as secondary. Customers do have the option of passing some data to merchants by opting for incentives or they can remain anonymous as well. Getting deeper insights into customers’ purchases will help merchants develop better relationships, but MCX can pivot to NFC to maintain the prime objective.
BostInno – in an exclusive interview, Chris Gardner, co-founder of Paydiant, the technology provider for MCX, mentioned that the initiative to support both NFC and Bluetooth is already in progress. He mentioned that when CurrentC launches in 2015, it won’t be exclusive to QR code use only. NFC can support payment transactions at POS but can’t do coupons which QR codes can. Bluetooth will help in transactions where it is to be initiated from a certain proximal distance. Besides payments, it’s also about marketing, loyalty and giving offers to customers for which multiple technologies would be necessary.
MCX considering accepting payment cards would defeat the original purpose with which the consortium was created. Even Softcard (called ISIS before) had to pivot to partnerships with payment card providers eventually. As per Davidson, MCX is still in talks and there are no further clarifications as to whether they will actually form the partnerships.