The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) unveiled the brand name CurrentC for its mobile wallet, loyalty and offers platform, which it will launch in 2015 at around 110,000 retail locations, including at Walmart, Best Buy and Target.
The platform will likely compete not just with existing mobile payment options like Softcard (formerly Isis), but will also likely be going up against a mobile payments system Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is expected to unveil next week that will reportedly rely on Near Field Communication technology. CurrentC does not use NFC, unlike Softcard and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Wallet, which could widen the war between competing mobile payment solutions.
What makes the MCX offering unique is that it has the backing of some of the country's largest retailers, including 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS, Darden Restaurants (which owns chains like Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse), HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe's, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, Sunoco, Target and Walmart. Retailers are generally considered an essential part of any mobile payments scheme since they need to support NFC readers or other point of sale terminals that support the program.
MCX, which was founded in 2012, said consumers will be able to gain access to the entire CurrentC network and all its benefits by using the forthcoming CurrentC app, as well as through merchants' mobile applications that use CurrentC functionality.
CurrentC has been launched in a private pilot mode in select locations across the country, and MCX said the pilot will expand through 2014, with regional and national rollouts coming in 2015.
The app will be available through Apple's App Store and Google Play for Android devices. According to MCX, the app will make purchasing more seamless by applying qualifying offers and coupons, participating merchant rewards, loyalty programs and membership accounts, and then offering payment options through the consumer's selected financial account, all with a single scan.
Further, users' payment information will be secured in the cloud rather than on the device, and the app will use a token placeholder to make transactions instead of constantly passing the data between the user, merchant and financial institution. The app will use digital QR codes generated by its smartphone to process payments, and will not use NFC.
To entice other merchants to join the network, MCX notes that CurrentC is a software-based solution that works with most existing point-of-sale and payment terminals, lowering their costs. Further, CurrentC will use a secure paycode and will not require additional hardware from most customers.
- see this release
- see this NFC World article
- see this Finextra article
- see this GigaOM article
- see this Yankee Group post
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