Since Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) announced the launch of virtual payment platform Apple Pay last week, brands such as Disney, Macy's (NYSE:M), McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Walgreens (NYSE:WAG) have already signed on to use it. Three major credit card companies and five big banks have also given their vote of confidence through partnership agreements, but still, some big-box retailers such as Walmart (NYSE:WMT) weren't interested in the new payment platform.
Walmart has no plans to use Apple Pay as of yet and will instead use a more consumer-accessible program recently launched by the Merchant Consumer Exchange, reported Macworld.
Walmart and brands such as Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) are still interested in swipeless payment processing, but instead of Apple Pay, they're invested in MCX's CurrentC. Unlike Apple Pay, CurrentC is not linked to credit and debit cards, but rather directly to shoppers' bank accounts. The app actually generates a QR code recognized by most existing checkout scanners that will deduct the purchase amount from a shopper's checking or savings account through the app without a transaction fee.
CurrentC will enable customers to store and redeem digital coupons and offers, reported The Payers. It works on any smartphone, not just the iPhone, and thus has a larger market for the time being.
Instead of code scanning, Apple Pay uses near field communication (NFC), which sends payment information wirelessly through a chip. The upside: Apple Pay is secure because it uses a unique payment code each time, meaning no more Target data breaches. The downside: It's a little high-tech and probably won't be compatible with most POS setups in small stores for awhile.
One benefit for Walmart customers using CurrentC is that it's less expensive. While Apple Pay is expected to reduce transaction fees, CurrentC would eliminate them entirely. However, it's unclear what big banks will have to say about that. They generate an estimated $40 billion a year through transaction fees.
Though CurrentC launched its pilot this month, the full rollout isn't slated until next year, meaning that for the time being Apple Pay may have the upper hand, as its services are already optimized and fully functional.
*This story originally appeared in FierceMobileRetail's sister publication, FierceRetail.
-See this Macworld article
-See this The Payers article
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