Oct 27 AT 2:02 PM Dima Aryeh 18 Comments

Retailers disabling NFC payments in preparation for new wireless payment method


Google Wallet never really gained popularity. It was fun paying for things by tapping your phone to a sensor, but not enough people knew about it or could even use it (thanks, carriers!). I always thought that the day Apple introduced NFC payments would be the day it would become widely used. Little did I know that it would do exactly the opposite.

Quite a few stores have now disabled NFC payments in reaction to Apple Pay. These stores include Walmart, Best Buy, Kmart, 7-Eleven, CVS and more. While it’s reported that this is to shut out Apple Pay, it also has the side effect of disabling services like Google Wallet and Softcard. Yep, NFC payments are now facing some serious trouble.

This trouble comes as future competition, as these stores are creating their own mobile payment system that will be called CurrentC. The goal is to avoid credit card fees normally associated with such mobile payment methods by drawing straight from your checking account. Using this app would net you exclusive coupons and promotions to thank you for saving the retailer money.

However, I think these retailers have forgotten about Softcard. The carriers blocked Google Wallet while creating the service, put tons of money into it, netted a lot of partners and even pre-installed the service on all carrier smartphones. None of this made it the least bit successful, and CurrentC will most likely fare no better. I can’t imagine people picking up a new service just for a few stores when Apple Pay or Google Wallet would be so much more simple. Such is life when you don’t learn from past mistakes.

Via: The Verge

Dima Aryeh is obsessed with all things car and tech. His time is split between gaming and fixing his racecar. He also does photography in his spare time.

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  • Sergio

    Everyone go to the play store and leave 1 star reviews in protest!


  • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

    You can’t really blame these retailers for trying. Credit card processing fees can range from 1 to 4%. That may not sound like much to you, but you have to consider that the small percentage is a huge deal to companies which process billions of dollars in transactions a year.

    Best Buy brought in $42 billion (yes, that’s billion with a b) in 2014. Based on the sticker price for Best Buy items, I’d imagine 90% of that money (37.8 billion) came in through credit card purchases. If this new service can save best Buy 1% in processing fees per year, the company can add $378 million to its bottom line. That’s huge, especially for a company that lost $1.1 billion last year. Having a new app isn’t really convenient, but I’m definitely supportive if it helps keep retailers in the black.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      It’s not a bad idea in the sense that it’s greedy. Far from it. It just won’t get adopted because no one wants yet another app to keep around and use at different locations. Everyone would rather use their credit card. Apple Pay is at least hyped up by word of mouth, something CurrenC will never achieve. It’s not a bad idea at all, I agree with you there, it’s just doomed to fail.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      Also, it’s getting rid of the competition, which is superior. That’s no fun. Using your checking account is open to fraud far more than a credit card linked to Google Wallet.

      • http://htcsource.com Nick Gray

        In many cases, like this is just as secure as a credit card since it would require you to enter your debit card PIN to process the transaction. If you think people are not going to sign up for the service, you probably have never signed up for a retail store creditcard in the past. Target, Best buy, GAP Sears and dozens of other retailers offer their own credit cards and give users discounts for using them. This app would do the same thing.

        Retailers have the power to promote the app every time someone makes a purchase at their stores, something Apple and Google can’t do.

        Wireless payments will get a massive boost once everyone is asked at checkout “do you want to sign up for our wireless payment app today and save 10% of your purchase?” The average consumer will eat it up.

        • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

          Is it not a direct use of your bank account? Because that has far less protection than even using a debit card in a store.

          You have a point with the store card thing.

    • Chris

      The thing is… when companies or financial experts say a company lost X Amount of money during a specific quarter/year… the reality is.. they actually didn’t. It just means they didn’t make as much money as they previously did. It’s like a kid selling candy door-2-door… If they made $500 worth of candy sales last year and then this year only managed to make about $250 selling candy again for his school or organization.. do you say he had a $250 (50%) loss this year or do you say he only sold $250. Unfortunately, that’s how everyone “calls it”.. the loss.. and that’s what’s accepted. My point is.. You should really look at things from “other perspectives” instead of what’s only given to you… to see the big picture.

    • Tangent

      I don’t at all blame them for offering an alternative. However, I *do* blame them for disabling existing options and for making their app go well beyond creepy in what information it has access to. CurrentC has access to financial, location, health, browsing history, phone and text logs, biometrics, and contacts. The financial makes sense, and even some location so it can offer coupons like Google Wallet does, but the rest, especially Health and biometric information? WTF?

    • thel0nerang3r

      For me, the biggest concern is that it’s tied to my bank account directly. So..when (and let’s not kid ourselves, it’s not an “if” it’s “when”) their system gets compromised…the customer gets on the hook to straiten it out. Currently (in the US at least) if my credit card is compromised, I call visa/mastercard/amex/discover and they will do the leg work to sort it out. If my bank account is compromised, I’m the one that needs to jump all the hooks. Also, again for me in the US, when I buy something like electronics, all my cards double the warranty on it…I don’t thin I’ll be getting that if I use their system at Best Buy.

  • M3rc Nate

    It really bugs the hell outta me that these companies (like Google and Apple) dont see that they are better off working TOGETHER than trying to all make their own versions of things. Now i dont mind there being a few versions of certain things…but stuff like this? It would be much better off if there was a “Alliance” so Google and Android work together to keep NFC payments alive and eventually thriving and help it take over. But now the credit card companies want to create their own? Lame…dont they know no one is gonna DL and use that app?
    The longer fragmentation survives, the longer the old way is the standard (paying for things with a credit card), but once something blows up (like Paypal) and becomes the new standard and its secure and easy to use? Then we can advance.

  • Grayson Terry

    You can’t imagine picking up a new so for a couple of sites? Apple pay has what, 38 retailers on board, and 1 is Apple and 8 are the various foot lockers. I think WAAYYYY more people shop at Wal-Mart, best buy, cvs, target, kmart, etc. There are over 100,000 stores nationwide for the combined currentc retailers. I think Apple and Google wallet need to go ask mcx how they can get involved in currentc, otherwise they both have no shot competing with this, whether it’s a crummy app or not.

  • TruFactz

    But see, that’s going to be another hole in the ground because all credit card companies are going to be required to give cards with the new chip in them by Q4 2015 anyway so what about that?

  • Shaundroid

    Raise your hand if you ever got NFC to work? I couldn’t with any of my Xperia phones.

    • Tangent

      I’ve used it several times. I was hoping that with new pay points being rolled out to support the upcoming chip and pin credit card rollout I’d be able to use it in more places, but apparently that isn’t going to happen easily…

      • Shaundroid

        I couldn’t even get it to work in the T-mobile store!

  • hp420

    7-eleven disabled it a long time ago. I used to buy coffee there with wallet for two years, then bam!! one day it just wouldn’t take my wallet payment anymore.

  • Matt

    They are crazy if they think I am connecting anything directly to my checking account and no its not the same as connecting to my CC.

    • Tangent

      I’m not as worried about that as I am all the other access it has. Financial, location, health, browsing history, phone and text logs, biometrics, and contacts. Between that and the fact that I refuse to support anyone that uses tactics like banning the competition, I’m not touching CurrentC.