MCX Is Dead (Again) Thanks to Target Pay

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / lucidwatersMCX: It’s alive! It’s dead! It’s alive again!

Actually, does the recent news about a forthcoming Target Wallet, announced just a week or so after Walmart Pay, means it’s really and truly dead?

MCX and its long-promised app, CurrentC, have delayed coming to market for so long that it’s become commonplace to say they’ll never arrive. Introduced back in the summer of 2012, when mobile payments at the point of sale were still in their infancy, MCX made waves for promising to bring in loyalty, rewards, and lower costs for merchants by relying on ACH rather than the card networks.

But each subsequent mobile payments launch — Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay — has pushed MCX farther into the periphery. Prominent MCX backers have continued to “defect” and accept other mobile payment methods. The reason is simple — merchants aren’t interested in exclusivity, they’re interested in letting anyone who wants to pay, pay however they want to.

That changed this fall with the launch of Chase Pay, which seemingly allied with MCX in significant ways, primarily in it apparent merchant friendliness and avoiding the card rails in favor of ACH. But then Walmart Pay arrived and threw a stick of dynamite into that party. Walmart was a major backer — perhaps the major backer — of MCX. And while the Bentonville, Ark. giant didn’t disavow MCX, it was clear that its commitment to the project would lessen. That left Target, which had recently made news by cozying up to NFC, Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Today, Reuters reported Target was in the early stages of developing its own mobile payments technology. Payfinders CEO Brian Roemmele delivered a few tweets about the news as well:

So MCX’s two primary backers have placed their own bets. Sure, they’ll probably accept MCX too. But what about those exclusivity deals MCX was built on? MCX is dead, Roemmele commented to Bank Innovation.

Target will leverage its Red Card, which makes up 22% of all its transactions, and accept Apple Pay and likely Android Pay as well.

It’s getting hard to keep track of all the mobile wallet players today, but it’s clear that MCX is being left out in the cold. And as far as users are concerned, opening yet another app is not easier than pulling out a card. This is one reason very few can ultimately expect to succeed in mobile payments.

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  1. […] MCX: It's alive! It's dead! It's alive again! Actually, does the recent news about a forthcoming Target Wallet, announced just a week or so after Walmart  […]