October 29, 2014

CVS, Rite Aid, MCX and Apple Pay, big drama of Mobile Payments

[Update: 10/29/14 4:45PM - MCX's CurrentC just got hacked, so far, it seems emails of people who signed up is taken; apparently, to sign up requires driver's license, SSN, etc...  yikes!]
Wow, the drama and development of this mobile payment story is getting more interesting by the day.  At first, CVS and Rite Aid was the social media punching bag (take a look at their respective Facebook pages, every comment there is extremely negative threatening to take their business elsewhere).  Engadget just reported from a different perspective which is that the contract MCX members signed prevents them from using rival technologies...

For those unfamiliar with MCX, its known as "Merchant Customer Exchange", their end product is known as CurrentC, which is a payment method designed to avoid credit card (or it's fees) by asking customers to link this payment type directly to their bank account.  In the end, retailers gets to save 2 to 3% from their credit card sales which, frankly speaking, can be quite significant.  They just need to figure a way out to "spin it" so customers feel like there is a big benefit.

While this technology is not yet to be rolled out, Apple Pay's launch must have tossed a major monkey wrench catching them off guard.  Keep in mind that Google Wallet has been trying to push for mobile NFC payment for a couple of years now and they've had minimal success.  Apple Pay is suddenly making everyone jump on the band wagon; I can certainly see why the folks at MCX decide to wave it's contractual terms at its members in a holding pattern or as Tim Cook puts it, its a "skirmish".

Here is the point of view I am taking from a consumer mobile experience stand point:
No. 1 - As a consumer, I do not give a shit about the 2% or 3% credit card fee retailers gripe about
No. 2 - As a savvy consumer, I enjoy the benefits of using my credit card as a). a layer to protect me and b). get some type of incentive back to me such as mileages, points, cashback, etc..
No. 3 - Do not take away choices or options; I love having options, the more the better; consumers work hard for their money, respect them enough to give them all the methods for payment
No. 4 - Retailers doesn't get consumers or mobile technology; here is a clear example of MCX retailers under estimate the power and reach of Apple and it's fan boys (aka consumers), still thinks it can engineer something to change customers minds...

I am curious to see how this story will develope and will the power of consumers get Apple Pay or Google Wallet back in their store.

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