clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Execs From Apple Pay Competitor Finally Speak, but Big Questions Remain

This thing doesn't end.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

MCX, the consortium of retailers that recently blocked the use of Apple Pay in their stores, finally spoke to the press Wednesday about a recent hack on its system, as well as to address the lingering brouhaha over the Apple payment ban.

Following a bizarre press conference in which reporters had to submit questions in an online chat room, MCX COO Scott Rankin spoke with Re/code in an interview, and while he provided some answers, questions still remain. Here’s what we know and what we don’t.

  1. Hackers stole email addresses of people who had signed up for MCX’s mobile payment app, CurrentC. The attack hit a third-party email vendor, and it’s unclear if MCX plans to continue its relationship with the provider. Given its compromised security, that might deter any prospective user.
  2. As we previously reported, one of the main reasons MCX created CurrentC is to promote a payment method that wouldn’t incur the credit card fees that retailers have had to pay on each transaction. That means the CurrentC app won’t connect to a traditional debit or credit card, only bank accounts and select store-branded plastic. MCX execs did give themselves some wiggle room, saying CurrentC will eventually be open to all credit and debit cards, but they didn’t say when that will happen, or which specific cards will be supported.
  3. Right now, Apple Pay is banned by MCX. But there appears to be at least one rogue. Meijer, a grocer that’s listed as a member on MCX’s site, said it won’t ban Apple Pay. When I asked Rankin if that would disqualify Meijer from CurrentC, he gave a non-answer. “I think if they want to go forward and continue to accept Apple Pay, down the road at some point if they want to be a customer of MCX and roll out CurrentC and offer it to customers that’s great.” A Meijer rep didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
  4. But it’s possible MCX will allow Apple Pay later on. “In the future I think there will be multiple platforms available not just at MCX merchants but everywhere,” Rankin said. Still, no definitive answer.
  5. Rankin admitted part of the reason why MCX is banning Apple Pay right now is to help get CurrentC off the ground, even though it won’t launch till next year. Apple Pay, of course, is available right now. MCX retailers “want breathing space to get this business off the ground and nurture it,” Rankin said.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.