MCX hits pause on Apple Pay competitor CurrentC, fires 30 workers

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The Merchant Consumer Exchange consortium, which previously enjoyed support from major retailers like Walmart, CVS, The Gap and more, has postponed plans to take its CurrentC mobile payments product nationwide.

According to MCX CEO Brian Mooney, near term development efforts have turned to building out other segments of the business like partnerships with financial institutions, reports TechCrunch.

"Utilizing unique feedback from the marketplace and our Columbus pilot, MCX has made a decision to concentrate more heavily in the immediate term on other aspects of our business including working with financial institutions, like our partnership with Chase, to enable and scale mobile payment solutions," Mooney said. "As part of this transition, MCX will postpone a nationwide rollout of its CurrentC application. As MCX has said many times, the mobile payments space is just beginning to take shape - it is early in a long game. MCX's owner-members remain committed to our future."

The CurrentC mobile payments platform has been in development since 2012, initially devised to sidestep credit card network fees by directly linking to customer bank accounts. Efforts took a turn when smartphone heavyweights Apple and Google launched their own branded digital wallets, namely Apple Pay and Android Pay, which threatened CurrentC adoption. In a bid to better position its product, MCX restricted consortium members from accepting competing systems at point of sale terminals, starting with Apple Pay in 2014.

After development setbacks and a postponed launch, retail partners are abandoning ship. Last year, Rite Aid and Best Buy broke from MCX convention and began accepting other NFC solutions, including Apple Pay, at certain stores.

Earlier today, Walmart announced plans to roll out its own payment system — Walmart Pay — to more than 500 stores across Arkansas and Texas.