MCX's CurrentC mobile payments system may not launch until 2016 as Samsung Pay muscles in

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which is setting up a mobile payments system called CurrentC to rival Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Pay, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android Pay and other offerings, said the CurrentC system may not launch until 2016. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics said its own mobile payments system, Samsung Pay, will launch in South Korea on Aug. 20 and in the U.S. on Sept. 28, adding yet another player to an increasingly crowded and fragmented market.

CurrentC may not launch widely this year as originally planned, MCX CEO Brian Mooney told Re/code. MCX will begin a public pilot of its app in Columbus, Ohio, in a few weeks and will not rush a wider rollout if the product is not ready, he said.

"This is a long game," Mooney said. "Certainly going faster is always better -- that's not necessarily a debatable point. But we're going to do it right."

Mooney told Reuters MCX is "currently in a beta with several of our merchants and employees, and we will now extend that beta to the public in the next few weeks." He did not provide specifics about timing or name the participating retailers.

MCX, which was created in 2012, said last year it planned to launch its mobile wallet, loyalty and offers platform under the CurrentC brand in 2015 at around 110,000 retail locations, including Walmart, Best Buy, Kohl's, Dunkin' Donuts, Exxon and Target. The app will use QR-code technology for transactions, essentially creating a scannable bar code. Many merchants rallied behind CurrentC because it's a payment method that won't incur the credit card fees that retailers have to pay on each credit card transaction.

However, some MCX backers are already looking at other options. Earlier this week pharmacy chain Rite Aid said it would start accepting Apple Pay and Android Pay starting Aug. 15. Best Buy said in April it plans to accept Apple Pay in its stores later this year.

A Rite Aid spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that it wants to offer its customers a variety of payment options.

Meanwhile, Samsung said that Samsung Pay will be preloaded on select versions of its new Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 smartphones, and a free software upgrade will be rolled out beginning in mid-August to enable Samsung Pay on Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices in the U.S. and South Korea. Select U.S. users of Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 will be able to participate in a beta trial from Aug. 25 ahead of the Sept. 28 launch.

Samsung also plans to roll out the Samsung Pay service in the UK, Spain and China. Samsung Pay, which the company unveiled in March shortly after it announced it was buying mobile payments startup LoopPay, uses LoopPay's magnetic secure transmission, or MST. Samsung said its payments system works with both Near Field Communication (NFC) and MST technology to make it device, merchant and card issuer agnostic. Users will be able to authenticate a transaction by using their fingerprint and then swiping the device on a card reader, even if it does not support NFC. Samsung said it will not store card details and will tokenize the card information with each transaction to keep users' personal data secure. In the U.S. Samsung has partnered with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa, major banks including Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, U.S. Bank and key financial partners including First Data, Synchrony Financial and TSYS.

According to Re/code, Samsung Pay will be supported on all major U.S. carriers except Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), which is still in talks with Samsung. What is unclear at this point is whether merchants will embrace yet another payment method, though Samsung said that its offerings will work with "most" existing point-of-sale terminals and is "the only mobile payment service that works virtually anywhere you can swipe your credit card or debit card."

For more:
- see this Re/code article
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Samsung release 
- see this separate Re/code article

Related articles:
Survey: Two-thirds of top 100 U.S. retailers balk at adding Apple Pay this year
Google unveils Android M, Android Pay and Google Now enhancements
Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge sport new design and new payment system
MCX: Exclusivity agreement on CurrentC that bars Apple Pay to expire in 'months, not years'
Apple Pay rival MCX open to using NFC technology in the future

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