After being rumored for years, Apple last week said its new iPhone 6 would come with near-field communications (NFC) technology to better facilitate mobile payments. But Walmart has rained on the Silicon Valley giant’s parade.
Apple Pay will launch in October but the world’s largest retailer has decided not to install the necessary NFC scanners for it.
According to The Chicago Tribune, rather than buy new scanners to support Apple Pay, Walmart has decided to back CurrentC, which works with just about any device – and is expected to rollout nationwide next year. Other well-known brands such as Target, 7-Eleven, Southwest Airlines and the Gap also support CurrentC.
“Self-interest is among the many roadblocks hindering widespread mobile payment adoption,” noted Jordan McKee, 451 Research senior analyst. All too often, stakeholders work to serve their own needs first, leaving their customers confused and with limited options. While Walmart and Best Buy are understandably championing an initiative that circumvents fees charged by the card networks and issuers, constricting consumer choice in effort to cut costs surely isn’t worth the risk of negative brand sentiment. The fact that merchants backing CurrentC are disallowing competing initiatives at the PoS (point of sale) shows they lack faith in the amount of value their solution will deliver. And unfortunately, their position as a PoS gatekeeper means no one wins, merchants and consumers included.”