CurrentC Retailers Reportedly Locked In By Contract

Retailers snubbing Apple Pay in favor of their own CurrentC system reportedly face big fines if they back out of their position now.

CurrentC Retailers Reportedly Locked In By Contract
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Much has been made recently of the fight between the new Apple Pay wireless payment system and CurrentC, the competing service backed by a coalition of big-name retailers called the Merchant Customer Exchange. (Video via Newsy)

MCX's decision to explicitly not support Apple Pay generated its fair share of baffled criticism when the news broke last week.

But it turns out MCX isn’t necessarily motivated by capitalistic spite alone:

A new report in the New York Times shows these retailers are contractually obligated to use CurrentC and CurrentC alone — “If these retailers break their contracts, they will face steep fines for doing so.”

This is a revelation, even if it is a minor one. It explains why the payment battle escalated to where it is now. (Video via CBS)

MCX never clarified that fine, even when Cult of Mac asked if something like it existed.

Not that it would have mattered. Engadget points out retailers signed the CurrentC contract before Apple Pay was ever a thing.

And now, if retailers want consumers to use CurrentC, they’ll have to wait to do so.

HADLEY MALCOLM: “Apple Pay is out now. This CurrentC app isn’t available yet, right?”

BRET MOLINA: “No, the rollout is expected during the first half of the year.” (Video via USA Today)

In the meantime, MCX will have plenty to do: Wednesday CurrentC reportedly suffered a data breach, in which email addresses of early testers were compromised.

MCX says it has contacted those whose accounts were affected and will continue to investigate the situation.