The goal of CurrentC is to let retailers bypass the 2-3% fees charged by credit card companies. Spearheaded by Walmart, a company called MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange) has developed a solution that links mobile payments directly to customers bank accounts. Unfortunately, rather than NFC, CurrentC uses QR codes to initiate transactions.
When it’s time for a user to check out, they request to pay with CurrentC. The consumer then unlocks their phone, opens the CurrentC app, opens the code scanner, and scans the QR code shown on the cashier’s screen. In some case, the reverse may happen where the consumer’s CurrentC app displays a payment code and the cashier scans it. If a QR code can’t be generated, a manually entered numeric code may be offered.
Rather than sending the customer’s financial data over the air, transactions trigger the transmission of a token placeholder. This is then securely converted by the financial institution to process the ACH payment and charge the user. CurrentC also has a method in place for paying at gas station pumps. It shows the consumer a code on their phone that can then be entered on the pump keypad to initiate a CurrentC payment.
MCX asked retailers to pay a big $250,000-$500,000 upfront fee to get onboard with the solution. In addition, a three mobile payment app exclusivity deal was required. Retailers who signed up may have had a one-year grace period to bail out. This would explain why CVS, Rite Aid, and others may need to block Apple Pay.
A document allegedly leaked from Rite Aid reads:
Please note that we do not accept Apple Pay at this time. However we are currently working with a group of large retailers to develop a mobile wallet that allows for mobile payments attached to credit cards and bank accounts directly from a smart phone. We expect to have this feature available in the first half of 2015.
If customers attempt to pay for a transaction with Apple Pay, a message will prompt both customer and cashier for a different form of payment. Please instruct cashiers to apologize to the customer and explain that we do not currently accept Apple Pay, but will have our own mobile wallet next year.
While CurrentC may be clumsier than Apple Pay. Perhaps the new competition from Apple Pay will convince retailers to share some of their transaction fee savings with customers.
Notably, the CurrentC app is already on the App Store; however, an invite code is needed to use it. Hit the link below for more details...
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