Retail heavyweights in the US are moving to block Apple Pay by simply disabling NFC readers in their Point of Sale terminals while working to release their own solution.
A report by The Verge today showed that Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Rite Aid and CVS have moved to block Apple Pay by modifying their terminals to block NFC payments ahead of an alternative solution a group of retailers is working on called ‘CurrentC.’
The CurrentC mobile payment wallet is built by a group of retailers that formed in 2012 to cut credit card fees out of mobile payments and requires the user to use a QR code on screen to complete payment. CurrentC isn’t launching until next year and appears to avoid using NFC at all, instead taking funds directly from your bank account when you scan the QR code.
Despite the CurrentC solution sounding somewhat ridiculous for using QR codes, it has a number of big companies backing it like Gap, Old Navy, 7-Eleven, Kohls, Lowes, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sam’s Club, Sears, Kmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Banana Republic, Stop & Shop, Wendy’s and most major US gas stations. In fact, it has 110,000 retailers across the US already onboard.
Similar situations are panning out worldwide, since everyone wants a piece of the mobile payments pie. In New Zealand, Semble is building its own NFC payment solution exclusively for payments inside the country in cahoots with carriers, even though Apple Pay and Google Wallet are on the horizon with potentially better solutions.
It’s unclear who will win in mobile payments, but it there’s a chance you’ll have to install a few different mobile wallets on your phone to make payments, depending on which store you’re shopping at.
The notion sounds ridiculous but mobile payments aren’t simply about paying with your phone; for banks, carriers, retailers and others it’s a chance to take their own chunk out of a new goldmine. Ultimately, it could create a mess for buyers and slow adoption, but the potential size of mobile payments means everyone wants to get a cut.