The d-word: Which is doomed, Apple Pay or CurrentC?


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Apple is locked in battle with something else again and you know what that means. Writing for IT World, Matthew Mombrea says give him a “D,” give him an “O,” give him another...

It’s “Doom.” He thinks Apple Pay is doomed.

“Why CurrentC will beat out Apple Pay in the end” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody)

No. Just... no.

Now, the Macalope isn’t saying Apple Pay is necessarily going to “win” (although he thinks it’ll at least be a winner for Apple), but he is saying that CurrentC is going to lose. Hopefully in a dramatic style that will allow us all to laugh heartily at its expense. Heck, the only reason you’re hearing about CurrentC is because it’s what’s preventing people from using the convenience of Apple Pay. We’re not hearing about it because it’s something anyone says they want.

Apple pay was released to the public just over a week ago and it’s stumbling out of the gate.

Stumbling gracefully with lots of user satisfaction.

Reports of technical issues like double charging are spreading...

There was one instance. And it was the bank’s fault. But go on, you’re off to a great start.

...and retailer participation is low.

But only because retailers are trying to foist CurrentC on people so they can get more of their data and store it less securely. But don’t worry. It also has the advantage of being less convenient.

Lurking in the shadows however is a competing solution called CurrentC which has recently gained a lot of press...

Note how this is couched as a good thing. CurrentC has “gained” something! What has it gained? Press!

... as backers of the project moved to block NFC payments (Apple Pay, Google Wallet, etc.) at their retail terminals.

Apparently no one had been using them until Apple turned on Apple Pay. “We have NFC terminals? OH, GOD, SHUT THEM DOWN!!”

The strength of the merchants designing or backing CurrentC is enormous.

Apple, meanwhile, has no power at all. Li’l ol’ Apple. What chance do they stand? They started in a garage, dontcha know.

Hooking directly to your bank account rather than a credit or debit card, CurrentC will use good old ACH to transfer money from your account to the merchant’s bank account at little to no cost...

To the retailers. Oh, did you think Mombrea was talking about customers? Well, there’s no charge to customers, either. Unless there’s a fraudulent charge and then good luck getting your money back because CurrentC doesn’t have the purchase protection that credit cards do.

Like Apple Pay, the actual transaction is handled securely without the merchant needing to have access to your personal account information.

Uh, right. They’re both equally secure. Except that, unlike Apple Pay, which only stores your credit card number on your device, CurrentC will store your checking account information, your driver’s license number, your social security number and, what the hey, also some of your health information, in the cloud.

Oh, and they’ve already had some email addresses stolen. Oopsies. Well, you can’t make a committee-designed, hard to use, and insecure omelette without breaking some privacy eggs. Scrambled privacy eggs are some of the main ingredients!

What it boils down to is the fact that one technology is designed for the users (Apple) and the other is designed for the merchants (CurrentC). Normally I’d say that the product with the most user appeal will win but the power and size behind the CurrentC group is too big to ignore.

Apple Pay, meanwhile, has reportedly already signed up 3 million cards, which is about 3 million more accounts than CurrentC has. And it did that in about a week.

People aren’t reliant on mobile payments at this point so stopping Apple Pay out of the gate is a strong move as almost nobody will miss it.

Except the credit card companies are already advertising it on World Series games and retailers not part of CurrentC, like Walgreens, are using Apple Pay as a differentiator.

Hey, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users! The choice is yours: Use #ApplePay today at any of our stores!

Now for Mombrea to drop the d-word.

If you can’t use Apple Pay almost everywhere, it’s doomed.

Here’s the thing. CurrentC isn’t even out yet. It won’t be out until next year. Apple has months to build up good will. Meanwhile, merchants on the outside will be looking at all those thumb-unlocked impulse buys and getting as itchy as an MBA in a burlap suit. They will never gain significant traction with CurrentC. It’s an insecure, customer-hostile system. Imagine being the person standing behind someone trying to scan a QR code. You might as well be standing behind someone writing a check. Or paying with chickens. The only thing retailers can do then is try to lock Apple Pay out, which is pointless. It’s no worse financially for them than credit card transactions and it solves their recent security failings for them.

The d-word does apply here. It just doesn’t apply to Apple Pay.

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