Apple Pay launched just two weeks ago, and despite its “limited” usability, it has already sparked a battle of mobile payment platforms. Despite allowing it for the first couple of days, drug stores Rite Aid and CVS have decided to block Apple Pay as they are part of the MCX consortium that will go exclusively with a new mobile payment platform, CurrentC, at least at the very beginning, says the company’s CEO while speaking with Walt Mossberg of Re/code.
In his article about the anti–Apple Pay merchants, Mossberg notes that CVS, for example, didn’t shut down its NFC system when other players such as Google Wallet emerged. The fact is, before Apple Pay, none of the existing mobile payment platforms managed to go mainstream.
Apple Pay, on the other hand, is a viable mobile payment platform: it is fast, secure, and fun to use.
So with Apple Pay already on the market and the MCX consortium’s CurrentC just in its beta testing phase, with a rumoured launch sometime next year, the merchants who are part of the consortium are forced to make some difficult business decisions that aren’t always best for their customers.
However, Davidson explained, MCX insisted on exclusivity for now, to provide “breathing room” for the development of CurrentC. When I asked whether that meant the merchants didn’t want another system to catch on, he said no, and repeatedly explained what a massive undertaking CurrentC is. He added that the exclusivity rule would expire in “months, not years.”
Given the exclusive rights to accept CurrentC as a mobile payment tool from customers, CVS and other involved players have made a decision. The CEO of the MCX consortium, Dekkers Davidson, mentioned, however, that the exclusivity rule will expire in months, not years. But US users will have to wait for CurrentC to arrive first.