Apple Pay rival CurrentC shutting down service test

CurrentC, the would-be mobile payment rival to Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, is calling it quits — at least for now.

Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, the company behind CurrentC, is shutting down its one and only active test of the system and deactivating customer accounts. After June 28, customers in Columbus, Ohio — the test site — will no longer be able to use CurrentC, with no word on whether they or anyone else will ever be able to use it again.

“We want to say a special thank you to everyone who participated in our CurrentC Beta test in Columbus,” MCX said in a message on the CurrentC website. “Please stay tuned for new information on CurrentC as our future plans evolve.”

The shutdown of the test could cause some disruption for CurrentC users. The service could be used to store gift cards at particular stores. But MCX warned users that if they have a balance on the card but no longer have the physical card itself, they will lose their funds if they don’t spend them before the shutdown day.

“If you no longer have your physical card, please use the remaining balance in CurrentC before June 28, 2016 because any remaining balance cannot be reissued to you once the card is deleted from your CurrentC account,” MCX said in a response to a list of frequently asked questions on the CurrentC site.

Years in the making, CurrentC was originally intended to be the retail industry’s answer to Apple Pay and a way to reduce its dependence on — and payments to — the credit card industry.

It works much the same way as other wireless payment systems, transferring payment information over the near-field communications antenna in a smartphone or other device.

But MCX has struggled to get the service off the ground. It was supposed to launch the service nationwide last year, but ended up delaying that. In May, the company delayed the nationwide launch indefinitely and laid off 30 employees.

Several retailers who originally cast their lot with MCX have since gone their own way. Walmart has launched its own wireless payment service. Best Buy, Home Depot and other major retailers have either already starting taking Apple Pay or said they will soon.

Image courtesy of MCX.

 

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  • Jim Philips

    Written as if Android Pay didn’t exist.

 
 
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