CurrentC Rolls off its Deathbed and into the Grave

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The mobile payment platform CurrentC is all but dead. MCX is shutting down its beta trials, turning off user accounts, and keeping mum on whether or not it'll bring back the service at some point in the future. CurrentC is, for all practical purposes dead, but MCX can't bring itself to use that word.

It's dead, Jim: CurrentC dies before it ever launchedIt's dead, Jim: CurrentC dies before it ever launched

Word of CurrentC's ultimate demise doesn't come as any surprise. The service launch has been delayed again and again—most recently in May—and retailer partners have been defecting to Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Walmart, one of CurrentC's keystone partners, walked away and launched its own competing mobile payment platform.

CurrentC was concocted by a consortium of retailers wanting to cut out credit card companies from transactions and collect even more data about their shoppers. The mobile payment system was designed with retailers needs in mind instead of consumers, which was the wrong way to approach the platform—something MCX may finally be learning.

Instead of using credit cards, CurrentC linked directly to customer's bank accounts, which raised concerns over shoppers being responsible for the cost of fraudulent transactions. Security was also an issue, especially after CurrentC was hacked.

It's only dead-ish

MCX isn't officially saying CurrentC is dead, although the website FAQ uses business-speak that says essentially that: "We have not yet determined the future timing of CurrentC but we will keep you posted."

CurrentC also used a clunky transaction process. Instead of NFC, like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, shoppers needed to install an app they would open ahead of paying, then display a special barcode to complete the transaction. Considering how slow U.S. consumers have been to get onboard with contactless payments, the added steps needed with CurrentC posed a major hurdle for adoption.

There's still a slim chance CurrentC could live on in another form. Chase Bank signed a deal with MCX to use CurrentC technology for its own mobile payment system earlier this year. Assuming Chase moves forward with that, at least some of what CurrentC work could show up in Chase Pay when it launches.

For the retailers who were holding out for CurrentC's launch, that's not much of a consolation. Maybe MCX needs a visit from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross to work through its grief and come to terms with the death of CurrentC.

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Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! Old CurrentC is dead.
Wake up - sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, CurrentC is dead.
It’s gone where the goblins go,
Below - below - below. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
That CurrentC is dead!


- shuffled off this mortal coil
- slid down the curtain of life
- pushin’ up the daisies
- ‘e f*****g snuffed it
- it is no more


You guys are so mean. I really saw CurrentC bringing value to our lives in a different way than ApplePay. I mean, really, it was going to be a game changer in the way we shop…

Mwaaaaa haaaa haaaaa haaaaaa.

Sorry, guys, I couldn’t stop from LMAO!!




Now if the big retailers (Target, etc) would fall inline and adopt Apple Pay (contactless payment) our lives would be more secure… So looking forward to Apple Pay person to person money transfers, I’ll be down to writing checks for only one thing.

Philip Cohen

CurrentC, Walmart Pay, Target Pay: The problem with these merchant-initiated efforts is that consumers’ funds still have to be sourced from a bank account somewhere, either via a MasterCard/Visa credit/debit transaction, or via the clunky Automated Clearing House (ACH) “direct debit” process. Unfortunately, ACH direct debits are not processed in “real time” but are aggregated for overnight settlement and, if the funds (or credit) are not available, the bank will reverse the direct debit the following day. The simple reality is, the ACH direct debit system was never intended, nor is it suitable, for the sourcing funds for goods/services that are going to immediately walk out the door.

Conversely, the banks’ interactive “card” payment system works, that’s why 99.9% of merchants accept MasterCard/Visa transactions. Rregardless,  those merchants that don’t like the higher discount fee of “credit” transactions have always had the option of accepting only “debit” transactions. So, what are they complaining about, or am I missing something? ...

What a total waste of time and money it is to try to develop an alternative to the universal system offered by the world’s banks via MasterCard/Visa. It seems that the MCX Consortium members have forgotten what happened to those retailer charge accounts that used to be around in the last century—before the early “bankcards” appeared.

It now appears that CurrentC has died “in utero”—is anyone surprised?

Google “Retail Payments: The Reality”

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