So now we know that Apple Pay and Google Wallet have been disabled at stores such as Walmart, CVS and RiteAid because these retailers have banded together to make their own mobile payments platform called CurrentC. While these merchants no doubt think that CurrentC will be a winner for them, the truth is it will probably be about as successful as mobile carriers’ failed attempts to build their own mobile payment systems, if not less so.
The reasons, as outlined by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, are simple to understand. Systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet work as well as they do because they are tightly integrated with the software platform they run on. CurrentC, on the other hand, is a clunky and inconvenient mobile app that doesn’t even work with NFC technology, which just happens to be the key ingredient that both Apple Pay and Google Wallet use to make paying with your phone convenient.
“With CurrentC, you’ll have to unlock your phone, launch their app, point your camera at a QR code, and wait,” Gruber writes. “With Apple Pay, you just take out your phone and put your thumb on the Touch ID sensor.”
There are still a lot of questions about whether mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet will ever take off. What is clear, however, is that no mobile payment platform will ever be successful if using it is less convenient than using your credit card. Because of this, it’s impossible to see CurrentC succeeding as it’s currently designed and the merchants behind it are delusional to think otherwise.