Big Merchants and Mobile Wallets (aka: CurrentC)


  • mod

    Ok, I don't know how many people are interested in mobile wallets, but I find the idea interesting. Ultimately, I'd prefer something like SoftCard, where the wallet information is stored on a secure Enhanced SIM instead of in the cloud, but it looks like most providers are movign to a cloud based solution.

    Anyway, I came across this gem yesterday:

    CURRENTC AND THE BIG MERCHANT MESS

    The article details how a group of retailers - including Best Buy, Target, WalMart, Wal-Greens, and more - have banded together to develop a mobile payment solution called CUrrentC. The article then details why the author thinks CurrentC will fail. A few main points:

    1. Under the terms of the contract with CurrentC, the participating merchants aren't supposed to accept any other mobile payment services. This became a huge problem when Apple Pay came out because almost all credit processing companies automatically included Apple Pay in all merchant agreements. The only way for the merchants to get out of this was to turn off the contactless readers in their stores. So no more mobile payment at any of the merchants who are participating in CurrentC, and no more physical contactless cards.
    2. Because of the issues from the first item, CurrentC is already direct competition with Apple Pay and several other mobile payment solutions. Only one problem: CurrentC won't be publicly available until sometime in 2015. Oops!
    3. Unlike other mobile payment providers, CurrentC is indicating that you will be required to connect to a checking account. They will be allowing you to connect debit cards. They may allow you to connect credit cards, but this has not yet been decided. So basically, CurrentC is completely different in terms of what you will be allowed to keep in your mobile wallet, but any participating merchants won't be allowed to accept other mobile wallets. <sarcasm>Yeah, that sounds like a winning combination.</sarcasm>
    4. They've already had their database hacked.

    Seems to me like CurrentC just needs to give up and die at this point.



  • Wait a beta user hacked their database? Hahaha.

    Sounds like a company that's good at making deals (getting all those retailers onboard) and bad at actual execution of anything.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Wait a beta user hacked their database? Hahaha.

    Sounds like a company that's good at making deals (getting all those retailers onboard) and bad at actual execution of anything.

    Those two are usually mutually exclusive.


  • mod

    Usually, but CurrentC has managed to pull it off.



  • Ehhh, I meant being good at marketing/development. Too much blood in my caffeine system.


  • mod

    Ah. Maybe it's my blood/caffeine ratio that's the problem. My 1-year old has her first 6 teeth coming in and decided to keep everyone awake last night.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @abarker said:

    Under the terms of the contract with CurrentC, the participating merchants aren't supposed to accept any other mobile payment services.

    This is just plain evil and seems as though it should be at odds with anti-monopoly laws.



  • No, I definitely worded my original response wrong.


  • SockDev

    @Intercourse said:

    This is just plain evil and seems as though it should be at odds with anti-monopoly laws.

    it is, but good luck fighting that one... the other parties have way more money than you do.



  • @accalia said:

    the other parties have way more money than you do.

    True, they certainly have way more money than I do, but ...

    @abarker said:

    CurrentC is already direct competition with Apple Pay and several other mobile payment solutions.

    ... not necessarily more money than Apple, et al. It seems to me they might have reason to fight CurrentC's anti-competitive business practices.


  • SockDev

    yeah, but apple et.al. have their own anti-compete rules in their contracts that they'd rather not have come out in court.

    we'll see which way they eventually fall on the risk/reward decision. i think for now they're waiting and hoping CurrentC falls flat on its face.


  • mod

    Here's a gem I glossed over reading the article the first time:

    [T]he invite-only press briefing mid-week only made matters worse for them as contradictions and vagaries were in abundance. And, that only caused the media, now totally dialed into this story, to dig in even more.

    In particular, the claim made by CurrentC’s CEO that its merchants can do what they want, at the same time they are bound contractually and exclusively to CurrentC’s in-store mobile payments scheme

    So, the participating merchants are contractually bound to use CurrentC exclusively, but CurrentC is saying, "You can accept any payment options you want." Is it just me, or does it sound like CurrentC is just begging for a chance to go after someone for breach of contract?


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    That or Marketing doesn't know what Legal is doing.



  • @Yamikuronue said:

    That or Marketing

    For some reason, I first read that as Thor of Marketing, which made the whole sentence much more epic.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Intercourse said:

    This is just plain evil and seems as though it should be at odds with anti-monopoly laws.

    Those are selectively enforced, so no worries.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @antiquarian said:

    Those are only enforced on those without shitloads of lobbyists, so no worries.

    FTFY



  • Having used the NFC-style Paypal option on my phone before, I'm utterly at a loss as to why scanning a QR code seems "more secure" to these people. ApplePay seems to be more or less the same as the Paypal feature, only more Apple-y. CurrenC just seems late to the table and offers absolutely nothing except a burdensome contract.

    Am I surprised in the least that someone signed an exclusive deal with them? Sadly, no.


  • mod

    @VaelynPhi said:

    Having used the NFC-style Paypal option on my phone before, I'm utterly at a loss as to why scanning a QR code seems "more secure" to these people.

    NFC is wireless, so it might be intercepted and hacked!

    Never mind that, by specification, the effective range of NFC is ~3 cm.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @abarker said:

    Never mind that, by specification, the effective range of NFC is ~3 cm.

    The average person will not know that or take it in to consideration. They hear "wireless" and think it has the range of the wifi at their house.



  • @Intercourse said:

    The average person will not know that or take it in to consideration. They hear "wireless" and think it has the range of the wifi at their house.

    "Why isn't my payment going through? I have 6 bars here!"


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @abarker said:

    Never mind that, by specification, the effective range of NFC is ~3 cm.

    RFID's supposed to be short range, too, but nobody thinks about what happens when you put more power through the antenna--highway toll tags use RFID, and the readers are 6-8 feet away, above you. Are we sure you can't do the same to NFC?


  • SockDev

    @FrostCat said:

    highway toll tags use RFID, and the readers are 6-8 feet away, above you.

    and in some toll locations you are going at 60+mph (i know i should convert to KPH but that's math!) so that's even more impressive!



  • I couldn't believe the US didn't have chip and pin as standard (in the UK for at least 10 years now) ...



  • @accalia said:

    (i know i should convert to KPH but that's math!)

    (MPH * 8) / 5 ~ KMH


  • SockDev

    hey! i saw that edit! cool!

    and yes i know there's a conversion but i drive in US all the signs are in MPH and i don't want to do math at 60MPH



  • @accalia said:

    and in some toll locations you are going at 60+mph (i know i should convert to KPH but that's math!) so that's even more impressive!

    I just use the 6/10 approximation, so that's aboot 100 kph.



  • I got the fractions the wrong way round



  • @FrostCat said:

    RFID's supposed to be short range, too, but nobody thinks about what happens when you put more power through the antenna--highway toll tags use RFID, and the readers are 6-8 feet away, above you. Are we sure you can't do the same to NFC?

    You can do this (more power, higher gain antenna) with most RFID systems. UHF (800 or 900MHz) RFID systems, such as the EPC Gen2 tags used for inventory tracking work, are capable of ranges well upwards of 1m with a big-ish antenna (on both ends!) and a good module...


  • BINNED

    @accalia said:

    and in some toll locations you are going at 60+mph (i know i should convert to KPH but that's math!) so that's even more impressive!

    Bot request: google calculator bot


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Yeah, the readers on the toll roads in Dallas are at least 2 meaters[1] from where your rfid tag is.

    [1] that was a typo, but since I am already being nice and converting the units for you I decided not to fix it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas said:

    I couldn't believe the US didn't have chip and pin as standard (in the UK for at least 10 years now) ...

    You are aware that the UK was one of the last parts of the EU to adopt the technology?



  • Yes I know.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @lucas said:

    I couldn't believe the US didn't have chip and pin as standard (in the UK for at least 10 years now) ...

    We're actually going to finally get it over the next year or so. All the major retail chains have recently replaced their PIN pads with ones that have a slot for chip'n'pin cards. I suspect all the major banks will wait until the last minute to issue replacement cards.


  • SockDev

    i have too many open bot requests. open a github issue and i'll prioritize form there.


  • SockDev

    @FrostCat said:

    Yeah, the readers on the toll roads in Dallas are at least 2 meaters[1] from where your rfid tag is.

    [1] that was a typo, but since I am already being nice and converting the units for you I decided not to fix it.

    I approve of this typo. I hereby suggest we rename the meatspace unit as meaters.


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