CurrentC, the mobile payments app backed by a consortium of retailers, is not launching this month after all, Re/Code reports.
The company has started a public test of the system at some retailers in Columbus Ohio, but it won't be widely available this month as was promised.
CurrenttC eschews credit cards (thereby allowing retailers to avoid hated payment fees), using gift cards, private label store cards, and checking accounts instead. Near Field Communications-run apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, by contrast, allow credit card links among other payment options.
Several retailers that were originally part of MCX, the consortium created to develop CurrentC as an exclusive payment option, have already ditched their initial pledge and now say they will indeed accept Apple Pay and other NFC-enabled mobile payment options.
That appears to be wise, considering that CurrentC is apparently suffering yet another delay in its launch. MCX CEO Brian Mooney seems to be couching that in terms of being cautious and correct.
“This is a long game,” Mooney told Re/Code. “Certainly going faster is always better — that’s not necessarily a debatable point. But we’re going to do it right.”
But “doing it right” so far hasn’t been CurrentC’s strong suit. The delays have been an obstacle for retailers who would have liked to accept mobile payments before now. While Rite Aid, Best Buy, Target and others have remedied that by turning on their NFC POS systems to accept Apple Pay, CurrentC will be left to play on a more even playing field once it does become available.
In fact, it may be at a disadvantage, considering that Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung’s upcoming payment app will be pre-loaded on many phones, and CurrentC will require a download.
In any case, it can’t be downloaded until it’s available.