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CurrentC mobile pay to kick off in a single market mid-year

Matt Hamblen | April 29, 2015
Its creator, MCX, is considered a threat to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other mobile payment systems.

She explained that NFC is payment neutral and NFC terminals can't distinguish Apple Pay payments from others because Apple and the credit card companies won't release the numbering schemes for the terminals.

"If and once CurrentC gains adoption amongst consumers, merchants will want to make their lives easier by using NFC instead of mobile apps that don't," Litan predicted.

Apple Pay has been steadily advancing its reach in the U.S. since it launched last fall, and Apple recently said it has reached more than 700,000 merchant locations. Apple boasts that it has 67 retailers with 14 more on the way, although analysts have noted that not every store in a named retail chain is NFC-ready as required. Apple Pay also plans to move into Canada, where more than 80% of in-store terminals now accept NFC.

In the U.S., the number of NFC-ready terminals hovers at less than 10% of all terminals because the U.S. has been the slowest nation to adopt newer payment technologies. The U.S. still heavily relies on less-secure magnetic stripe credit cards.

The U.S. has about 12 million payment terminals in all, according to the EMV Connection website. It has been monitoring the U.S. transition to more secure payment systems, which include EMV Chip cards and NFC payments.

In a separate announcement on Monday, Discover said it will allow its cardholders in the U.S. to make payments with Apple Pay beginning sometime this fall. A company spokesman would not disclose how many cardholders it has, but said Nilson Report rates it the sixth largest.


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