Yesterday, MCX disclosed in an email that it had suffered a hack which exposed user email addresses. MCX, a US retailer consortium that includes Wal-Mart and Best Buy, is developing an Apple Pay mobile wallet competitor called CurrentC.
The company held a press conference to discuss the extent of the hack late Tuesday afternoon. CEO Dekkers Davidson also provided a handful of details on what MCX is and isn’t.
Here are the key takeaways:
MCX’s email provider was hacked. The hack compromised some user email addresses as well as dummy emails and zip codes. The CurrentC mobile app itself was not hacked.
Impact: Despite widespread press coverage of the hack, this won’t be a big deal for MCX in the long run. The hack was very minor, the app wasn’t compromised, and few mainstream consumers even know what CurrentC is. By the time the app actually launches in early 2015, the hack will be forgotten.
MCX is exclusive: In a blog post, Davidson confirmed MCX members agree to exclusivity: They cannot accept other mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet in their stores.
Impact: This is going to be a problem for MCX retailers. From a consumer's perspective its akin to merchants only accepting Visa and being barred from accepting MasterCard. Some customers are already talking about boycotting member merchants. We think that MCX will eventually have to compromise and allow member merchants to accept Apple Pay.
MCX could be technology agnostic: Right now MCX uses QR codes to make payments because they can be used on most mobile phones and most merchants can accept payments via QR code without having to upgrade their existing payment terminals. But MCX is already testing a payments solution that uses Low Energy Bluetooth as well and hasn't ruled out integrating NFC-compatibility as well.
Impact: As Business Insider's Jay Yarow notes, the way CurrentC uses QR codes now for making payments sounds like a terrible user experience and no better or faster than pulling out a credit card. Moving beyond QR codes is a must if CurrentC hopes to compete with Apple Pay.
CurrentC will work with credit and debit cards: Davidson disclosed that MCX is already partnered with two major card networks and is in discussions with issuing banks to [...]