Against the CurrentC: The Apple Pay rival’s continued false start


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Remember CurrentC? Well, how could you? It still hasn’t gotten started. It’s the giant retail consortium’s little payment method that couldn’t even.

“Apple Pay rival CurrentC could be delayed again as retailers jump ship”

You mean the more complicated, less secure alternative to Apple Pay is going to be even later? Who saw that coming?

Wait, a funnier question to ask would be who didn’t see that coming? Answer: These guys!

Writing for IT World in October of 2014, Matthew Mombrea tried to explain “Why CurrentC will beat out Apple Pay in the end.”

To be fair he might have meant just before The Rapture by “the end”. So there’s still time.

By the way, can you imagine a literal IT World? It’s a frightening thought, isn’t it? Entire planet of sysadmins and help desk technicians. Business analysts, shuffling across a barren landscape populated by Dell desktops and moaning “Business requirements documentation… stakeholder buy-in… SOX compliance…” Meanwhile, over top it all, the burning eye of of the CIO scans the wasteland from atop a SQL Server tower, looking for devices that fall outside the approved list.


Here’s why Mombrea thought CurrentC was an unstoppable juggernaut of contact-free payment glory.

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

It was the League of Nations of retailers! There was no way it could fail! Turns out there was a lot more backing than designing. Now there isn’t much of either.

At the same time, Business Insider’s Jim Edwards said “Wal-Mart Is At War Against Apple Over The New iPhone Payments System—And Apple Is Losing”. Apple was “losing” to a system that wasn’t expected to launch for months and now appears won’t be widely available until two years after Apple Pay launched. Retailers, we were told, would turn off their NFC machines and wait Apple Pay out. “Oh, you’d like to pay in a more convenient manner?” they’d say. “Well, please go across the street. You’ll get none of that here until we can get your checking account and driver’s license numbers and some of your health information and put it in our notoriously insecure online data stores. Good day to you. I SAID, ‘GOOD DAY’!” That’s what was surely going to happen.

The Macalope is reminded of that scene in the second Lord of the Rings movie where Theoden, king of Rohan, asks “What can men do against such reckless cray-cray?”

The horny one may be paraphrasing.

Hang on, because we’ve got one more person stumbling out of the retail consortium’s apartment and doing the CurrentC walk of shame. Writing for Geek, Russell Holly did a decent job of explaining the drawbacks of CurrentC, but still thought it would come out triumphant.

Long before Apple or Google gain the market share that would allow any reasonable consumer to have a serious conversation about ditching their physical wallet and living in smartphone-only payment nirvana, dozens of major retailers will have deployed a custom-built countermeasure that has hundreds of thousands of users.

Let’s see, is that playing out in any way at all? Uhhhhhhh, just pretending to look around here aaaaand… no. Nope. Not at all. In fact, the reverse appears to be true.

Well, whatever. This Apple Pay versus CurrentC battle is so 2014 because here in 2015 “Samsung Pay is Ready to Blow Apple Pay Out of the Water in the UK” (tip o’ the antlers to Nick Harvey).

It’s always something.

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