CurrentC’s maker MCX, for those unfamiliar, is a group of over 50 retailers who have been working to develop their own mobile wallet technology. Essentially, they want to own the mobile wallet experience for themselves, instead of turning it over to a company like Apple, whose Apple Pay mobile payments solution prevents them from gaining access to customer data. Instead, retailers involved with MCX want to use mobile payments as a way to learn more about their customers’ shopping behavior, which could mean they could better target offers to them in the future.
CurrentC, a clunky system to interfere with customers’ ability to buy things, has already been hacked. That’s amazing because, though the players involved are horrible at everything related to data security, it’s not even public.
There are legitimate reasons to use CurrentC. Maybe you want Target, a company pretending it’s the 90s as hard as they can, or Walmart, a company pretending its the 60s as hard as they can, to have direct access to your bank account, location, phone number, and email. Maybe Apple is a walled garden that needs to be open and needs a cheaper phone because market share and just wait because they’ll totally rip off Google Glass in, like, a week. Both are equally rational.
CurrentC is a money grab (saving two percent off billions of transactions is a big deal) at the expense of consumers (QR codes as the basis of the entire system—that’s smart). They’re using lies about security and consumer-focus to justify their own existence. The banks are horrible, terrible, rotten collections of evil but, they are built on secure transactions and are legally obligated to protect consumers.
MCX dodged a bullet here by having such horrible PR.
When CVS and Rite Aid shut off their NFC terminals because they’re obligated to block any other payment methods, they unleashed hell. It’s basically the first thing iOS and Android users have agreed on since ditching the hardware keyboard (eventually, amiright Android?). Both the App Store and Google Play are flooding CurrentC with one-star reviews (some of the comments are amazing).
This firestorm has been ridiculous to watch, but it opened the app up for people to exploit obvious security flaws. If this ever makes it to launch, at least this one thing won’t be the source of leaking massive piles of data.
I think we can all agree, standing at a counter waiting for a seventy-four-year-old, fixed income shopper to get her four-year-old Windows phone scanned by a sixty-seven-year-old, underpaid clerk because she can save five percent and the retailer can sell her enhanced profile to high paying spammers before large networks of angry nerds breach the entire system should be amazing.