Race to beat Apple Pay picks up, as PayPal buys CurrentC-linked Paydiant

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The mobile payment industry continues to see shakeups this week, as PayPal has announced it will acquire Paydiant, a mobile wallet developer with clients including MCX — the consortium behind retailer-driven Apple Pay competitor CurrentC.

The acquisition is expected to close by late March or April, pending regulatory approval, and grant PayPal the ability to offer branded wallets to partner companies. These can include not just basic payment systems but promotional options like loyalty rewards, special offers, and preferred payment methods, namely gift cards and branded credit cards.

Neither company has disclosed the value of the merger.

Paydiant's offerings are described as "technology agnostic," based on QR codes or NFC rather than demanding specific hardware. Apple Pay, for instance, requires an iPhone, iPad, or the Apple Watch, while Google Wallet and Android Pay can run only on Android devices. In both cases, merchants must also have compatible point-of-sale terminals if they want to handle store transactions.

It's unclear at this stage if and how the buyout might impact MCX, which is rolling out CurrentC this year. Some retailers in that consortium have agreed to an exclusivity window, temporarily cutting options like Apple Pay out of the equation.

PayPal is already a dominant force in the mobile payments industry, with some 150 million users worldwide.