CurrentC, the retailer-backed mobile payments app that was supposed to take down Apple Pay, is being delayed, and its creator is laying off 30 employees. It's not clear if this is the end for CurrentC, but it seems very possible.
According to TechCrunch, CurrentC creator MCX announced that going forward it would "concentrate heavily in the immediate term on other aspects of our business." It made the decision after seeing how trials of CurrentC went in Columbus, Ohio.
From what it sounds like, those trials went pretty poorly. And now MCX is changing its focus, moving away from its payments app in favor of helping banks with mobile payments.
CurrentC was awful, and apparently MCX just found out
MCX CEO Brian Mooney says that "it is early in a long game," suggesting that CurrentC may not be done for yet. But between MCX deciding to hold off on a nationwide rollout, laying off 30 employees, and changing its focus in the near term, it's hard to imagine seeing this app any time soon.
CurrentC's fate was very much MCX's own doing. The app was designed entirely to benefit the retailers who built it, requiring users to deal with annoying QR codes in order to make a purchase. The intention was to avoid the use of credit cards, which retailers have to pay a fee on.
Not only was the app not very consumer-friendly, it was never even made available. And in the meantime, Apple, Google, and Samsung have all introduced really easy to use mobile payment systems. So it's not something many people would choose to use.
MCX also gained a pretty bad image after bringing together retailers to block the use of Apple Pay, saying instead that they would wait for CurrentC to launch. They quickly began backing down. With today's news, it's pretty clear who won.