We hoped here at Ensygnia that Apple Pay would stir up the mobile payments industry and increase both awareness and acceptance of mobile payments system. Well - we seem to be at least half right. And Apple Pay is certainly causing a stir.
News broke this weekend that a group including some of America's largest retailers, like Walmart for example, were refusing to accept payments using Apple Pay. Indeed two of the group's members - CVS and Rite Aid, both giant pharmaceutical retailers - turned off Apple Pay having initially accepted the mobile payment method. All this puts a seemingly large spoke in the wheels of Apple Pay just one week after its launch.
The reason for the refusal; well the group concerned has been collaborating on a project termed MCX - Merchant Customer Exchange - and a mobile payment solution they are calling CurrentC. Given the investment in the solution, it seems the Group has decided not to give Apple a head start and instead turned off its NFC payment facilities and asked customers to wait around six months for CurrentC's launch.
It's understandable that the retailers who have invested time and money into the CurrentC solution want to protect their mobile payment platform, but I can't help but feel that not accepting Apple Pay transactions is a mistake. The negative PR and customer reaction alone has not been good.
Just take a look at the reviews and ratings for the CurrentC App on google play store and App store to see what tech savvy customers think. Or this thread on reddit that reached the front page: the normally pantomime arch-enemies of r/apple and r/android have been united in their distaste for MCX's actions, calling for a boycott of the stores not accepting NFC.
So - here's the thing. We firmly believe that no one solution will win this particular battlefield. Why should it - multiple payment methods exist today so it is likely multiple mobile payment methods will exist.
Our belief though is that an agnostic mobile payments platform, that is open to multiple payment method and is flexible in its applications can win the day. That's why our platform is designed the way it is and why we believe it offers a future-proof investment for all the players in the mobile payments eco-system - the users, the merchants and payment companies.
By Matthew Taylor 27th October 2014
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