Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the US retailer-backed payments firm seeking to rival Apple Pay, postponed a nationwide launch and is cutting a sizeable chunk of its workforce.
Meanwhile, MCX’s leading supporter, Walmart, announced that its own payment service for mobile devices is now available in 500 stores across two US states, following its debut late last year.
MCX, which started a trial of its CurrentC payment app last summer, will hold off a nationwide launch for the time being, according to a statement by CEO Brian Mooney.
“As MCX has said many times, the mobile payments space is just beginning to take shape — it is early in a long game. MCX’s owner-members remain committed to our future,” he said in a statement. However, members of the venture, including Best Buy, have broken ranks and started to accept payment from rivals, such as Apple Pay.
In fact, MCX has never set a target date for launch. Nor did Mooney specify a timescale for a future debut.
He did say that MCX “has made a decision to concentrate more heavily in the immediate term on other aspects of our business including working with financial institutions, like our partnership with Chase, to enable and scale mobile payment solutions”.
One of the reasons for the original creation of MCX was to bring pressure on card giants Visa and MasterCard to reduce the fees they charge retailers in the US. In addition, the retailers hoped to gather more customer data.
The consequence of MCX’s setback will be felt by its workforce which is being cut by 40 per cent, or about 30 employees.