Dozens of big retailers like Walmart, Target, CVS and Best Buy banded together in 2012 to create their own smartphone payments network and mobile wallet (MCX). Two years later, that payment platform finally has a name, CurrentC, and a launch timeline, 2015.
CurrentC is designed to be more than just a swipe-less smartphone payments method. According to MCX, it will be a repository for its members’ loyalty cards and a means of distributing, storing and redeeming digital coupons and special offers. CurrentC’s functions will also integrate directly with MCX members’ own mobile apps. What CurrentC doesn’t do is support Near Field Communications, the contact-less transaction technology used by competing platforms Isis (which today renamed itself SoftCard) and Google Wallet. Instead, it will use digital QR codes generated by its smartphone app. Instead of storing credit card data in the phone itself, it will remain in the cloud and the smartphone app will generate a token that will verify the shopper’s presence and identity and trigger the transaction between store and bank.