Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the mobile payments venture co-owned by US retail chains with collective revenues of more than US$1 trillion annually, has announced that its payments, loyalty and offers platform is to be called CurrentC — and provided the first details of how the service will work when it rolls out to 110,000 merchant locations across the US in 2015.
“The CurrentC Network was built by leading merchants to simplify, enhance and secure their customers’ shopping experience,” MCX says. “This powerful platform will be available across a broad and growing collection of leading merchants in the big-box, convenience, pharmacy, fuel, grocery, dining, travel and specialty-retail categories.
“Consumers will be able to gain access to the entire CurrentC network and all its benefits by using the CurrentC app as well as through merchants’ mobile applications that utilize CurrentC functionality.
“CurrentC has been launched in private pilot mode in select locations across the country. The private pilot will expand through 2014, with regional and national rollouts to follow in 2015.”
The service is “a software-based solution that works with most existing point-of-sale and payment terminals — providing merchants large and small with a cost-effective entry point into the mobile payments movement,” MCX adds. “CurrentC will utilize a secure paycode and will not require additional hardware from most customers or merchants.”
“CurrentC will offer customers a simpler, faster, secure way to checkout at their favorite merchants,” says CEO Dekkers Davidson. “At full scale, CurrentC will be accepted in more than 110,000 merchant locations across the country, giving consumers unmatched access to their favorite retailers. It will also offer innovative features and benefits, such as merchant loyalty programs and instant coupon savings, all stored on the phone and available right at the point of sale.”
For merchants, the CurrentC Network will provide “unparalleled reach and resources”, he adds. “It will offer merchants new and exciting channels to engage with customers, strengthen relationships, and enjoy more control of transaction data.”
A CurrentC mobile wallet app will be available for both iOS and Android devices and is designed, MCX says, to “simplify and expedite the customer checkout process by applying qualifying offers and coupons, participating merchant rewards, loyalty programs and membership accounts, and offering payment options through the consumer’s selected financial account, all with a single scan.”
Consumers will benefit from using CurrentC in four main ways, it adds:
- Save money with valuable coupons and offers. CurrentC will store and automatically apply offers, coupons and promotions from participating merchants during the payment process.
- Earn rewards from participating merchant loyalty programs. CurrentC will allow customers to simplify and organize all participating merchant loyalty cards and membership accounts in one app. Existing rewards, once entered, are detected, applied and earned automatically during the transaction.
- Pay simply. CurrentC will offer customers the freedom to pay with a variety of financial accounts, including personal checking accounts, merchant gift cards and select merchant-branded credit and debit accounts. Additional payment options are to be made available in the coming months.
- A more secure way to pay. CurrentC will provide a more secure payment experience than traditional methods by storing users’ sensitive financial information in its cloud vault rather than locally on the mobile device. Furthermore, the application uses a token placeholder to facilitate transactions instead of constantly passing the data between the user, merchant and financial institution.
Plans to launch a retailer-owned mobile payment network were first announced in August 2012. Founder members include 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy; Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, Sunoco, Target and Walmart.