Apple Pay vs CurrentC
Apple Pay launched less than week ago Â and has already been met with a road block called CurrentC. CurrentC is a form of mobile payment that retailers like Walmart and Best Buy will be implementing in early 2015. A few days after the launch of Apple Pay, CVS and Rite Aid discontinued their support for NFC and, subsequently, Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Softcard.
As it turns out, any companies that singed on with CurrentC (brought to you by Merchant Customer Exchange) agreed to use the mobile payment system exclusively for at least 3 years as reports have indicated.
The companies that have banded together to support CurrentC do so as a clunkyly attempt to fight credit card companies eating away at their margins through processing fees. Now that youâ€™re somewhat caught up on what CurrentC is and why it will soon exist, hereâ€™s a list of 5 ways CurrentC is better than Apple Pay and 3 ways Apple Pay is better than CurrentC.
How CurrentC is Better Than Apple Pay
1. No Processing Fees
CurrentC has no processing fees
This is perhaps the biggest reason that CurrentC exist in the first place. Iâ€™m not sure how many of you are aware of this, but every time we use our Visa/Mastercard/American Express debit or credit cards, retailers are charged a percentage based off of the purchase amount. For Visa, 1.15 percent of transactions amounts under $1000 go to processing fees. These fees increase under various circumstance. For example, if you call a pizza place and use your card over the phone, Visa will charge a higher percentage since you did not use your card in person. With Walmart making $36,000,000 every hour, credit card companies take home at least $3.6 billion dollars over the course of a year.
If youâ€™re reading this, thereâ€™s a higher chance that you are a consumer and not a business owner. Since, under contract, retailers canâ€™t charge customers the percentage to use their credit cards, you might think that having no processing fees charged to yourself doesnâ€™t matter to you. Thatâ€™s where youâ€™re wrong. Companies might not be able to charge you for the percentage the credit companies take, but thereâ€™s nothing in the agreement stopping good olâ€™ Walmart from giving you discounts for not using credit card services.
In comparison, Apple is taking a cut of the money these credit card companies and banks are getting for themselves. At the end of the day, when it comes to Apple Pay, NFC and credit cards in general, the retailers are the ones getting the sour deal.
By using CurrentC, retailers hope to give you some of that money by offering you deals and loyalty points that you canâ€™t acquire using cash or those naughty credit cards. Which takes us to our next benefit that CurrentC has to offerâ€¦
Apple does a lot of things well. Automation isnâ€™t one of them. Itâ€™s obvious in Siri and itâ€™s obvious in Apple Pay. Since Apple doesnâ€™t store details about what you bought, how much you spent and where you spent it, Apple canâ€™t serve you information about your spending as autonomously as some of you may like it (to Appleâ€™s credit, this is done in order to enhance security).
CurrentC on the other hand serves you up some information you will find useful. A few examples include how CurrentC can store your transaction details and receipts automatically. Thereâ€™s been times that Iâ€™ve needed a paper receipt that Iâ€™ve thrown out. With all receipts being saved to CurrentC, I wouldnâ€™t have to worry about losing them and needing them.
CurrentC also automatically throws in loyalty points and discounts. Knowing that you are always getting the best bang for your buck will be ensured where CurrentC is accepted. However, it should be mentioned that the added availability of information can pose a security risk.
3. Finding Locations
Finding Locations on CurrentC
Even though Apple has a list of supported Apple Pay stores, thereâ€™s no easy way to see all stores in your area that support Apple Pay or NFC for that matter. Currency will handle finding locations better than Apple Pay will.
Within the CurrentC app, users will be able to search their immediate location for retailers that accept CurrentC. Itâ€™s definitely a feature we hope that Apple and others will include in their mobile wallet apps. We donâ€™t see this feature to be an added security risk. Itâ€™s simply an added benefit.
4. Available on all iOS devices
This is hands down the biggest way CurrentC is better than Apple Pay. Apple Pay via NFC is only supported by the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. CurrentC will be supported on the iPhones that even Apple Pay doesnâ€™t support, including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. In the grand scheme of things, CurrentC will be available to pretty much all Android and iOS devices whether or not they have the NFC chip inside.
Itâ€™s a bit crazy when you think about CurrentC supporting more iPhones than Apple can support with their own mobile wallet, Apple Pay. CurrentC is definitely not as polished as Apple Pay, but with such massive arability support for so many phones, it may have a fighting chance for this very reason.
Ways CurrentC is Worse than Apple Pay
1. Uses PIN
Paying for gas using CurrentC
The most appealing feature from Apple Pay outside of the fact that itâ€™s made by Apple is probably the implementation of Touch ID. As it stands, CurrentC doesnâ€™t support any method of finger print scanning. To day, thereâ€™s no public API for Touch ID. That means, unless Apple has given you permission to use Touch ID as a developer, your app wonâ€™t be able to utilize the hardware.
So, for now, CurrentC uses a pin to to use the app. Itâ€™s definitely not as cool or safe as Touch ID and it definitely wonâ€™t be as seamless, either.
2. Doesnâ€™t accept major credit cards
The entire premise behind CurrentC is to do away with credit card fees. With that said, America runs on
donuts credit. Just because CurrentC doesnâ€™t want to accept credit cards, doesnâ€™t mean we wonâ€™t need to use them. Apple Pay accepts most major credit cards. So if you decide to go with CurrentC over Apple Pay, understand that you will still have to lug all of those heavy credit and debit cards around since CurrentC is far from the ultimate solution of mobile transactions.
The only credit cards that CurrentC will accept are credit cards that are supplied through the store. For example, Best Buy has their own in-store credit cards. It will obviously be supported by CurrentC. Those type of cards are currently not widely supported by Apple Pay.
On a side note, we think that using Google Walletâ€™s debit card in conjunction with Apple Pay is the way to go. This way, if Apple Pay isnâ€™t accepted somewhere, youâ€™ll have access to all your accounts on the one Google Wallet debit card. Try it out.
3. Takes longer
CurrentC using QR codes for purchases
Thereâ€™s already mumbles of users who think Apple Pay isnâ€™t significantly faster than swiping their credit or debit cards. CurrentCâ€™s method of usage will probably take even longer. CurrentC first has to scan cashier supplied QR codes. Once scanned, CurrentC does its thing and evaluates the final price. Once done, the cashier will then have to scan a QR code that your phone generates to confirm the purchase. Of course, all of this has to happen after you unlock your phone, navigate to the CurrentC app and find the pay options.
With Apple Pay, you just place your phone near the NFC reader, use Touch ID and youâ€™re ready to go (contingent on how fast the cashier can handle things on their side).
4. No Fraud Protection
Apple Pay doesnâ€™t exactly have fraud protection itself, but protection is provide to users through their various debit and credit card providers. CurrentC works by linking directly to your checking or savings account. Typically, the accounts themselves donâ€™t have fraud protection. As a result, if something were to happen with CurrentC that gave hackers to account information, thereâ€™s not much you can do about it. On a personal note, this alone may cause me to refrain from even checking out the app.
Overall, I canâ€™t say that I will prefer CurrentC over Apple Pay or Google Wallet. NFC seems like a better way to move forward. But as a frequent Walmart shopper, Iâ€™ll probably will use the CurrentC app if the savings are better than just using my debit and credit cards with the exeption of what I mentioned in the no fraud protection point.
Do you think CurrentC is better than Apple Pay? Let me know it the comment section below!