TechCrunch has been reporting on the wind-down of MCX, the merchant consortium formed to develop a merchant-friendly mobile app based on QR codes named CurrentC:
As merchants like Walmart move ahead on their own mobile payment strategies, a consortium that once counted Walmart — along with a number of other big retailers and brands — behind it, has taken a step back. Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) today announced it would postpone a nationwide rollout of CurrentC, a smartphone payment initiative originally conceived as a mobile wallet rival to smartphone-led services like Apple Pay and Android Pay. As a result, MCX said it would lay off 30 people as it shifted its focus to working with financial institutions.
Although publically MCX states that it is merely pivoting its strategy to focus more on providing wallet services to financial institutions, it’s a little difficult to see a vibrant future for the organization. With Walmart and other retailers developing their own mobile wallets outside the consortium, MCX will most likely be relegated to playing their part behind the scenes such as their partnership with Chase and Chase Pay.
With other, more streamline solutions coming to the marketplace, and the complexity of managing a consortium of the largest retailers, MCX’s days are numbered:
At the same time, the rest of the payments industry has continued to evolve: The largest businesses, like Walmart, have been developing their own services. Existing mobile wallets like Apple Pay have continued their expansion globally, while other large payment businesses have consolidated their position. Notably, Paydiant, the company that powered the CurrentC application for MCX, got acquired by PayPal last year — and that too may have left a question mark over how it would be developed going forward. On top of all this, there is a general commoditization afoot in payments, and white label solutions — such as this one from WePay announced today — are becoming more widespread.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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