Does Upheaval Signal Problems at MCX?
April 30, 2015
This week, MCX, the merchant-backed consortium working on an in-store mobile payment capability to rival Apple Pay, Google Wallet, PayPal and others endured two pieces of news that could spell trouble for its nascent CurrentC solution. On Monday, electronics retailing giant Best Buy became the first major U.S. retailer involved in the MCX venture to announce it will accept Apple Pay. In an announcement on its Website, Best Buy said customers can use Apple Pay to make card-not-present purchases in Best Buy’s customer-facing shopping app immediately, and that the retailer will accept Apple Pay at the point of sale “later this year.”
Only a day later, MCX announced that Dekkers Davidson, the venture’s CEO since July, 2013, will leave the company to “pursue other opportunities.” Davidson will be replaced, according to MCX, by an interim CEO. Brian Mooney was the CEO of Bank of America Merchant Services and also served as CFO and president of First Data Merchant Services.
MCX was announced to great fanfare in the summer of 2012, but details about its proposed solution, CurrentC, have been scarce and the company will roll out in one U.S. city this summer. The only definite details have been that CurrentC will not, for the moment, leverage NFC to transmit payment information at the POS and that it will be funded by consumers’ bank accounts and store credit cards—cheaper alternatives for merchants.
Apple Pay, on the other hand, was long rumored, but launched nationwide—albeit not at a majority of retailers —last September with its solution that established NFC as the go-to technology for mobile payments at the POS.
According to an MCX statement, Best Buy continues to be “a strong MCX partner and supporter of the CurrentC initiative,” which Best Buy has reiterated in its own public statements. It remains unclear if other MCX merchants will follow Best Buy’s lead or continue to ignore Apple Pay, as several high-profile chains have .