Before CurrentC has even got up and running, it's undeniable that it's had a few stumbles. MCX, the consortium of big retailers behind CurrentC, has this week been trying to clear up some of the damage it did last week. Some of the criticism directed at CurrentC's mobile payments offering has been just, but perhaps some has gone too far. Considering MCX's solution is still in its trial stages, some of the conclusions on its potential success, or lack of, have been over-reaching.
"We do not expect to have those requirements when we launch".
It's only fair that we judge MCX's offering on its final product, not its beta trials. It seems the release of Apple Pay and MCX's poor PR management, has shoved them into the spotlight perhaps sooner than the main movers would have liked.
Some have also described CurrentC's solution as clunky in comparison with Apple Pay's NFC and fingerprint solution. Here's Scott Rankin's response to that:
"You pull out the phone, open the app, click pay and a QR code is displayed. She scans it, and you're done. It's like when the QR code is sent to you by the airline and you use it for your boarding pass. It's frictionless."
I think we would all agree, Apple's fingerprint solution is the quicker. Though I'm not convinced it's the better solution. For a start, I haven't been able to even try it, as Apple Pay is only available in the US. Secondly, I have an iPhone 5c, so even if the service was available in the UK, I still wouldn't be able to use it without upgrading to a newer model. I like the QR code solution as it's much more inclusive - works across a much wider range of smartphones and doesn't require stores to install expensive NFC technology.
"With our basis in identity, you can make mobile payments online without completing any registration process or remembering a long since forgotten username and password. Instead, you just scan one code"
CurrentC is going down the route that Starbucks has implemented successfully. The phone generates the QR code, and then the code is scanned by staff. We do things a little bit differently here at Ensygnia. We believe in a "one scan" solution. To use our Onescan app, users simply scan our special padlock codes themselves using their smartphone. What I personally really love about this, is that the experience of using Onescan is ubiquitous regardless if you are online, in-store or on-the-go. The NFC solution or CurrentC's use of QR codes works well in stores, but is useless if you're shopping at home on your laptop or tablet.
The Onescan solution queue busts in-store just like the other offering, but offers the exact same experience at home and on-the-go too. With our basis in identity, you can make mobile payments online without completing any registration process or remembering a long since forgotten username and password. Instead, you just scan one code. Onescan works just the same on digital or printed posters for when you're on the go.
The only time the Onescan experience is not identical, is when you're completing a transaction on your smartphone itself. No matter how bendy some people say the iPhone 6 is, it certainly doesn't fold in half to photograph its own screen! That's why Onescan is clever enough to recognise when a user is shopping on a mobile and therefore offers a One touch experience instead. One push of a button and the app loads, allowing you to complete your transaction on our safe and secure mobile platform.
CurrentC has its issues, but at the moment, I would say they are mostly in the PR department. For the solution and technology itself, it's just too early to say.
By Matthew Taylor 5th November 2014
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