Although by Thursday morning several news outlets speculated that was the end of the ill-fated payment app, the website indicates that CurrentC has "not yet determined the future timing of CurrentC but we will keep you posted.” MCX hadn’t responded by press time to a request from Retail Dive for clarification.
Last month, the Merchant Consumer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of more than 50 retailers led by Wal-Mart to develop the mobile app, announced layoffs of 30 people and another delay in its rollout.
CurrentC, a well-named app that has been in development for four years while Apple Pay and Google Pay racked up users, was ill-fated from the start.
Led by Wal-Mart, MCX formed in 2012 for the express purpose of developing a mobile payment system, with members including 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS, Rite Aid, Lowe’s, Michaels, Sears, Gap, and Target. It seemed to be an indication that mobile payments would be a new but important area for point-of-sales systems on and offline.
But the project got contaminated with other retailer priorities like avoiding long-loathed credit card fees that interfered with more customer-facing priorities. Plus, for whatever reason, CurrentC wasn't ready when MCX said it would be—any of the times it said it would be.
The app also suffered a hack, not a devastating one, but a hack nevertheless, that has also dogged its reputation.
MCX's efforts to make CurrentC a singular payment system by bypassing the Near Field Communications technologies employed by its rivals may have actually hampered it. And, while MCX retailers took the time and initiative to turn off their NFC systems to deny customers their use of Apple Pay or Google Wallet, Samsung Pay took the time to find a way to add legacy capabilities that would attract customers unsure of contactless payments in their newer, purer forms.
Faced with being unable to accept mobile payments of any kind, MCX retailers softened their hardball stance as one by one they turned their NFC systems back on and began accepting Apple Pay. MCX leader Wal-Mart went so far as to develop its own payment app last year.
To the extent that anyone ever did get a glimpse of it, CurrentC was revealed to be not-so-user friendly and "creepy," according to TechCrunch, because, for some reason, it collects health data. It also had terms of service that pushed liability for fraud onto the user.
Last month, in announcing the MCX layoffs, MCX CEO Brian Mooney said the organization was focusing on its partnership with Chase “to enable and scale mobile payment solutions” and that payments in general is a “long game.” However, that appears to be short-lived.