Until recently, all the buzz was about Apple Pay, dub the game changer in mobile payments- but now there is a new mobile payment system around, CurrentC. This app is being developed by Merchant Consumer Exchange (MCX), a digital payments platform backed by some of the biggest retailers in the US. However, CurrentC is still in the making and will not be out until early 2015.
CurrentC came in the spotlight when big companies like CVS and Rite Aid blocked the NFC readers for Apple Pay due to exclusive contracts they signed with MCX, suddenly everyone is talking about CurrentC and MCX. But why a new mobile payment system this time in the game? Why should consumers use CurrentC when Apple Pay is already in the market? The question that is on everyone’s minds is, can they trust CurrentC when CurrentC was recently hacked? Which mobile payment system can keep their data safe?
Also by TopAppsReviews: Mobile Payments the new frontier in transactions is slowly taking over the market ; Apple Pay- The New Payment Method by Apple that will revolutionize how we do business ; CurrentC Hacked! Users Leave Negatives Comments on the App Stores
What is CurrentC all about and why develop a mobile payment system?
CurrentC is currently backed by more than 50 retailers including some of the biggest names in retail: Kmart, Target Target, Sears, Best Buy Best Buy, CVS, Meijer Meijer amongst others who have come together to form Merchant Customer Exchange. According to reports, Walmart is the front runner in this new mobile wallet that will be available to the market very soon. It is believed that the reason why Walmart is suddenly interested in payment app is because, according to experts, they are trying to avoid credit card transaction fees, and trying to control the entire payment experience. Walmart wants to be its own boss, calling its own shots.
According to Forbes CurrentC gives Walmart and their friends at MCX the opportunity to cut payment cost as “CurrentC connects straight to a smartphone user’s checking account, much like PayPal. Walmart thus cuts out credit card companies from the payment process, saving the 2% to 4% fee normally imposed by Visa Visa, MasterCard and their ilk.” MCX companies will also have the opportunity to see each transaction data of customers, data they would not have being privilege to if they should use Apple Pay in their stores.
Furthermore, Walmart and its 50 plus other retailers is afraid of giving up data to Apple or Google, “A chain as big and influential as Walmart isn’t keen on giving up data to Apple or Google, which are increasingly seen as competitors for traditional retailers” said Clare O’Conner at Forbes.
Competition is good for business, the more mobile payment system there is the better for consumers. However, the problem is, when retailers chose to work with MCX and their CurrentC payment wallet, they are telling consumers that they will not be able to use Apple Pay in their stores. Therefore, consumers who normally shops at Walmart, CVS, Best Buy, or any of the stores in the MCX group will be force to sign up for CurrentC, even if they prefer to use Apple Pay. It is like bring a horse to the water and forcing the horse to drink the water instead of allowing the horse to choose. In today’s competitive world, no one want to be forced to accept something.
Sadly, CurrentC is not ready to hit the market as yet and still many retailers, like Best Buy, CVS and Rita Aid, have disabled the near-field communication systems in their stores that allowed apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet users to pay for their products. In recent days, store chains including Best Buy and Rite Aid.
However, not everyone in the MCX group is willing are even thinking of disabling NFC as Midwestern grocery store chain Meijer said they will accept both forms of mobile payment, Apple Pay and CurrentC.
MCX was started because retailers in the group wanted to stop paying the 2% to 3% processing fees to credit card companies.
How does CurrentC work?
CurrentC app allows users to an on-screen QR codes and scanning technology to complete a transaction. Similar to Apple Pay, users will be required to add their checking account information when they are setting up the app. To complete transaction users will be asked to enter their PIN which will then cause the app to generate a one-time authorization barcode, called QR code, for the sales clerk to scan. The code will connect with your bank account data and the system will then withdraw the amount from the user’s bank account.
Unlike Apple Pay which uses only iPhone, CurrentC will work on any smartphone, which will make it more appealing to consumers who probably will not want to purchase an iPhone.
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.
Apple Pay VS CurrentC- Which is better and safer?
Many experts believe that Apple Pay is much more secure than CurrentC. Apple Pay uses tokenization to obscure personal data, making Apple Pay therefore harder to hack. This is because retailers and banks will not have access or be able to view user’s credit card information.
Apple Pay works by sending signals a short distance through the air using technology called Near Field Communication, or NFC. However, the problem is that not many retailers use NFC, only 10 percent, penetration therefore is not an easy task.
Apple Pay is very easy to set up allowing you to easily add their credit or debit card on file from your iTunes Store account and can be use in stores, restaurants or other merchants. In a previous article by TopAppsReviews, we highlighted that “What puts Apple Pay above other mobile payments provider is its ease of use and security…… Moreover, Apple Pay security and privacy technologies are at this point second to none. Apple’s TouchID biometric sensor – which is widely considered best-in-class – gives it the ability to secure mobile devices and authenticate payees better than its competitors, giving consumers a piece of mind. To add to this Apple has added Secure Element to its iPhone 6 line that takes security to another level. It is true that like NFC technology, Secure Element has been around for a while, most notably as part of the old Google Wallet platform, however, combined with Apple’s hardware advancements and business development muscle, could finally change the way consumer payment security is handled”.
How Apple Pay Works?
After loading their cards onto the Apple’s system, to complete transactions a consumer would hold the smartphone close to a NFC sensor and confirm the purchase with a fingerprint scan. The merchant would then get two codes: One would identify the credit card; the other would be a one-time authorization code. Even if a hacker somehow stole both, they couldn’t be used for any other transaction.
Apple will not have access to shopper’s data as Apple said they are not interested in such data, not even the merchant will have access to this data.
In relation to CurrentC, the payment system have not being launch fully as yet, and it already faced the fury of consumers as CurrentC system was recently hacked, causing thousands of consumers participating in its trial program email address to be stolen. This led to the question of how safe is CurrentC? However, the good news is that no financial information was exposed, and attackers did not intercept transaction data. While Apple Pay has been receiving positive reviews, CurrentC is not so lucky as reviewers have been giving the app on the IOS App Store and Google PlayStore an average of 1 star.
As seen on PC World “CurrentC’s approach raises questions as to liability if there is a compromise of the system,” suggested Ken Westin, security analyst with Tripwire. “The Apple Pay model has been a bit more focused on privacy and security with their technology to help gain traction and trust in the market place. The CurrentC system is tied to loyalty programs with the retailer and that raises a whole host of privacy and security concerns.”
What is the costs of Apple Pay and CurrentC?
Both apps are free, however, both apps will work differently as “CurrentC says it connects with your prepaid cards and affinity programs at merchants, streamlining benefits and discounts from those programs. But since CurrentC cannot be used with credit cards, purchases made with the app don’t count toward credit card rewards.” According CreditCards.com
One thing is certain, there is a war on your hand, Apple Pay vs CurrentC, who will come out the victor? Banks and many retailers have already started using Apple Pay and customers are happy with its ease of use and security. CurrentC led Walmart on the other-hand is the biggest retailer with a very large customer base with literally millions of shoppers at its stores weekly- not to mention the other big names who have rallied on the CurrentC train such as Target, Best Buy. To make the matter more interested, CurrentC will work on any smartphone while Apple Pay will only work on Apple’s products, mainly iPhone and iPad Air 2. Apple Pay lists 34 retail partners including Macy’s, Walgreens and Petco.
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