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FierceRetail reports that CurrentC, the mobile payments system that is positioned to compete with Apple Pay, has already been hacked, even as it is being tested only in select Minnesota retailers.

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the consortium behind CurrentC, released a statement that said, in part, "Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who had expressed interest in the app. Many of these email addresses are dummy accounts used for testing purposes only. The CurrentC app itself was not affected.

"We have notified our merchant partners about this incident and directly communicated with each of the individuals whose email addresses were involved. We take the security of our users' information extremely seriously. MCX is continuing to investigate this situation and will provide updates as necessary."

At the same time, the New York Times reports that the backers of the Merchant Customer Exchange, which has been developing CurrentC, say they are open to adopting the same technology being used by Apple Pay.

The focus at CurrentC to this point has been on QR code technology, while Apple Pay has used Near Field Communication technology.

“I think there’s been a mistake made here, and that is focusing on the technology instead of what business or consumer problem you’re trying to solve,” Dekkers Davidson, CEO of the Merchant Customer Exchange, tells the Times.

Meanwhile, Time has a piece about the growing battle between Apple Pay and CurrentC, which broke out into the open last week when several retailers involved with MCX decided to disable Apple Pay technology in their stores. CurrentC, the story says, is "seen by many as having been designed more to benefit merchants than consumers. It’s certainly less user-friendly and probably less secure than Apple Pay, but it will help merchants sidestep the much-hated fees they have to pay every time a customer swipes a credit card. CurrentC is also just less cool than Apple Pay - from a tech obsessive’s perspective, it looks like a budget sedan to Apple Pay’s Tesla Model S."

However, Time also notes that companies like Walmart - which is one of the companies driving CurrentC - are not worried about tech obsessives … that they are more concerned about having technology that is relevant and user-friendly for their customers.
KC's View:
The definition of customer-centric can be a little fuzzy. After all, Apple Pay may be elegant and user friendly, but if only customers with the iPhone 6 can use it, and CurrentC seems more immediately relevant and usable, then that's pretty important, too. (CurrentC is often compared to the Starbucks mobile app, which always has seemed pretty cool to me.)

If CurrentC is seen in the long term as being more beneficial to retailers and Apple Pay as better for consumers … well, I'm pretty sure I know how this one will turn out. There will be companies that in their own self-interest will try to throw up barriers to Apple Pay's success, but that, in my view, would be foolish.

Resistance is futile.