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Apple Pay Rival CurrentC Puts Brakes On Year-End Launch

Apple Pay Rival CurrentC Puts Brakes On Year-End Launch
[Screenshot: via MCX]

CurrentC, the Apple Pay and Google Wallet competitor backed by some of America’s largest retailers, may hold off on debuting its app this year, Re/code reports. Initially scheduled to go public in the summer of 2015, the product is now beginning a limited public beta in Ohio instead. According to Re/code, the company “will not rush a wider rollout if the product is not ready.”

CurrentC is backed by an industry consortium called the Merchant Consumer Exchange (MCX), which includes giants such as Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Rite Aid, and Exxon. It is based on scannable QR codes rather than NFC chips, and directly debits consumers’ checking accounts or store cards rather than their credit cards. This is a direct bid by retailers, it seems, to avoid paying credit card transaction fees on smartphone-based transactions.

The first wave of exclusivity contracts signed between retailers and the MCX are allegedly wrapping up this month–which industry watchers think may result in companies accepting other mobile payment methods. Rite Aid, for example, announced Tuesday that it will now accept Google Wallet and Apple Pay transactions, after getting flak for revoking support last year.

CurrentC has been the subject of withering reviews during beta tests, due to criticisms levied against its interface and ease of use in retail stores; the company was also the subject of a large-scale data breach in late 2014.

[via Re/code]

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