NFC Payment Terminal

Following the launch of one of the most publicized contactless payment systems to date, two major retailers have turned off their NFC payment terminals. Most CVS’s and Rite Aids have been able to accept NFC based payments for a while now. Users with Google Wallet or a NFC equipped credit/debit card have been able to checkout for sometime without any issue and Apple Pay users were initially able to utilize the service. Several days after the launch of Apple Pay though, CVS and Rite Aid have blocked all NFC payments. The reasoning seems to be the companies’ participation in Merchants Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX is a consortium of merchants who are currently developing their own payment system, called Current C. Current C utilizes a QR code to make payments and requires  users to launch a stand alone app and to have a data connection at time of payment. Other major retailers in the consortium include Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and Kohl’s. Current C allows the merchant to collect consumer information and will only work via a direct link to the user’s bank account or store credit card. The former CEO of Walmart, Lee Scott, has said that Current C is being designed to avoid card processing fees and ensure that “Visa suffers.” With the amount of user payment information being stolen from retailers, I believe MCX with have a difficult time convincing people to connect their checking account directly to the app. Additionally, having to navigate to and launch an app is simply more time consuming than an integrated NFC payment method or swiping / inserting a card. In the end, convenience and security will be what determines which next-generation payment technology consumers embrace.