Apple Pay has been one of the most anticipated features of the new iOS 8 operating system. Many users were hoping for some type of NFC payment system to be included in iOS 6 and iOS 7, and Apple has finally answered with the unveiling of Apple Pay.
Apple Pay has not come without competition or controversy however. The Merchant Customer Exchange (MXC), which is made up of retailers such as CVS, Target , and Walmart, just to name a few, represent over $1 Trillion in yearly revenue. The MXC is working on their own mobile NFC payment app, CurrentC, that would rival Apple Pay. The big controversy has come in MXC’s handling of Apple Pay. There has been speculation that member retailers of MXC would have to pay fines if they decide to accept Apple Pay. While this speculation has been unconfirmed, it has been confirmed that MXC members will be required to leave MXC if they want to accept Apple Pay.
CurrentC figures to be more complicated for the consumer than Apple Pay is. Instead of just holding your phone near an NFC capable device to make a payment, users of CurrentC, which is scheduled to launch in early 2015, will have to take a photo of a QR code that appears on the retailer’s payment screen in order to make a payment.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. CurrentC seems to be more retailer friendly, while Apple Pay seems to be more consumer friendly. CurrentC will draw funds directly from the consumer’s bank account instead of using a bank account like Apple Pay does. This keeps the retailers from incurring the credit card fees that come with each swipe of a card.
These NFC systems seem like great options, but if you are like me, you are a little bit wary of putting too much information on your devices. The recent high profile security breaches only deter me more and I have to be convinced that my information is secure before I will try any type of system like this. I think these systems have potential but I also think that taking my credit card out and swiping it is just as easy as swiping my phone. Only time will tell if this technology is a credit card replacement or just a supplement for when you don’t want to carry a wallet around.