Long before Apple Pay, big brick-and-mortar retail chains were conspiring to sidestep the typical 2% to 3% fees they’re charged by credit card companies when consumers pay with credit. A company called MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), spearheaded by Walmart, was started to build a mobile payment solution that would become an app called CurrentC that’s preparing to launch, but is already in the app stores.
Rather than NFC, CurrentC uses QR codes displayed on a cashier’s screen and scanned by the consumer’s phone or vice versa to initiate and verify the transaction. The system is also designed to automatically apply discounts, use loyalty programs, and charge purchases to a variety of payment methods without passing sensitive financial data to the merchant.
It was designed not to benefit the consumer, but enrich the merchant. The result of that calculation is usually an awful failure.
Especially if the consumer is paying attention:
Apple Pay competitor "CurrentC" direct debits from your BANK ACCOUNT. Through QR codes in an app. Yeah. Hell no.
— InfoSec Taylor Swift (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 25, 2014
Legal protections for debit transactions being decidedly limited compared to legal protections for credit transactions, Swift’s nailed it.