MCX says consumer data safe; will not fine merchants for breaking exclusivity

In light of recent news that MCX, a coalition of retailers who are backing the mobile payment system CurrentC—rival to Apple Pay—had been hacked, the group held a press conference to announce that consumer data was safe and that the app itself had not been penetrated. In addition, MCX's CEO Dekkers Davidson stressed that the collaboration and payment platform was being developed in the best interest of merchants and consumers in mind, and so retailers were free to leave at any time.

MCX was formed by merchants across the United States to innovate the mobile commerce space and improve the consumer shopping experience, Davison explained. "We created a currency focused on making consumers' lives better," he said.

The CurrentC mobile app brings together consumer loyalty cards and accounts in order to offer the shopper everything from coupons and promotions to a payment platform. The solution is currently compatible with android and iOS mobile devices, and will be extended to more in the future.

Shoppers are able to engage with the MCX platform as much or as little as they want, therefore, offering up as much personal information to retailers as they feel comfortable with, according to Davidson.

The coalition's leader did acknowledge that there was an "unauthorized disclosure of emails," many of which were dummy accounts. "The app was not affected," he stressed. "We own this and are taking this seriously. We are addressing it with our partners."

While still in the first phase, CurrentC will be rolled out to the public in early 2015. Davidson stressed that the disclosure would not affect a national rollout. "We launched this as we did to test our system in a safe and secure way. There have been attacks and there will be many more and we will deal with them."

Davidson also stressed that the merchants do not share data with MCX, and that it belonged in the hands of the individual retailer. There is no consolidation of merchant information at this time. He added that there is no consumer information stored on a device in the physical world. The platform was designed to be a secure service on the cloud. However, the technology anticipates and is ready to handle regular cyber attacks. "It's far more secure than the world we live in today," said Davidson.

He also took the opportunity to dispel rumors floating around about merchants paying to be a part of MCX and signing agreements to exclusively use the CurrentC mobile payment platform—meaning the same retailer would not be able to offer Apple Pay or Google Wallet to its customers. "It's simply not true," said Davidson.

"These merchants have created and invested in MCX," he added. An MCX merchant partner is free to leave at any time. "They can make decisions for their consumers as they see fit."

The merchants came together for three main reasons: to create a platform that makes consumer and retailer engagement easy; to protect data for both the merchant and consumer; and to balance out the payment ecosystem. But again, Davidson stressed the No. 1 reason was an easy platform for engagement.

When asked how CurrentC compares to Apple Pay, Davidson answered, "We are quite excited the solution we have chosen has been emulated by others." And he sees no harm in some healthy competition.

MCX has plans of adding a Bluetooth technology solution into the mix in the coming future. The coalition is also working with two major financial institutions to offer credit card solutions.

"We are glad to be in this fight and building a better mobile platform for American consumers and their favorite merchants," Davidson added.

Related stories:
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Apple Pay is here 
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Apple Watch, Pay will change retail
Apple puts NFC security front and center

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