JPMorgan Chase has agreed to acquire MCX’s payments technology to help expand Chase Pay, the mobile and digital wallet for Chase customers. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks, the multinational banking and financial services holding company said Friday. Financial details were not disclosed.
MCX, the consortium of retailers led by Wal-Mart to develop a mobile application to rival Apple Pay, last year halted the rollout of its CurrentC app as its members opted instead to accept Apple Pay and other mobile payment solutions, or developed their own store-specific apps.
MCX has long had a partnership with Chase, which in November launched its own mobile payment app serving customers of several MCX retailers, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Chase said it acquired the technology in lieu of building separate parallel technology to serve non-MCX members.
From the start, MCX’s CurrentC was contaminated by retailer priorities — including avoiding long-loathed credit card fees — that interfered with customer-facing interests. Moreover, CurrentC wasn't ready when MCX said it said it would be, even after several delays. It didn’t help that the app suffered a hack in 2014 during one pilot phase.
Those delays and hiccups left plenty of room for Apple Pay and Google Wallet (which have been slowly accruing users for years) and even newer entrant Samsung Pay, to dominate and define the mobile payment space. In 2015, MCX said it would continue with bank partnerships, which was essentially a partnership with Chase. Now MCX is officially part of the Chase platform.
“When we think about ‘fintech,’ we go through a ‘build/buy/partner’ evaluation to decide how we can get to market most efficiently,” Chase Pay chief Jennifer Roberts said in a statement. “MCX has been an important partner, and their technology complements ours, so we’re thrilled to deepen our relationships with the merchant community through the purchase of this technology. This will help us get to market faster.”
The MCX acquisition is Chase’s second “fintech” announcement in recent months: In December, the bank invested $10 million in LevelUp to bring ‘order ahead, pay ahead’ capabilities to quick service restaurants.