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Apple Pay rival CurrentC closing up shop for now

Following a limited trial, the CurrentC payments sytem is suspending operations and disabling customer accounts.


Mobile payments service CurrentC is throwing in the towel, at least for the moment.


Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay have one less competitor to worry about.

CurrentC, a mobile payments system that went through a round of beta testing this year, announced on its website that it will shutter the service as of June 28. At that point, all active accounts will be disabled, the CurrentC app will no longer work and all stores that participated in the testing will no longer accept CurrentC transactions.

Like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and similar payment systems, CurrentC allowed you to make purchases at supported retailers through your mobile phone. The twist behind CurrentC is that it was backed by a consortium known as the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, which consisted of merchants such as Walmart, Best Buy, CVS and Rite Aid. But the group has faced tough competition from Apple, Samsung and other players.

Apple and other companies have introduced their own payments systems as a way to gain a foothold in the burgeoning mobile payments market. So far, mobile payments have yet to carve out a significant slice of retail transactions. But the companies involved believe consumers will increasingly use their phones to purchase items on the go as the process gains greater support from banks, merchants and other parties. Of all the systems out there, Apple Pay is the leader so far.

MCX was mum about when or if CurrentC would resume testing or operating.

"We removed CurrentC from the app stores to coincide with the scheduled end of our Columbus, Ohio beta at the end of June," an MCX spokesman said Wednesday. "We've not announced future timelines or plans around the app but we're looking forward to analyzing and learning from the data we gleaned throughout the beta."

As systems such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay gained traction, CurrentC bumped into several obstacles.

In 2014, CurrentC was hit by hackers before the system even had a chance to get off the ground. In 2015, CurrentC backers Best Buy and Rite Aid announced they were adding Apple Pay to their lineup. Also last year, MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson left "to pursue other opportunities."

MCX announced in May that it would postpone a nationwide rollout of its service while laying off 30 employees, according to TechCrunch. Instead, MCX said it would focus on developing partnerships with banks such as Chase.

The CurrentC payments method relied on QR codes rather than the fingerprint identification used by Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, potentially making it less convenient and less secure than the competition.

Update, 7:50 a.m. PT: Comment from MCX added.