Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a mobile payment consortium once backed by Walmart and other major retailers, is shutting down its CurrentC system this month following a trial of the service in Ohio.
According to the CurrentC website, the beta program will go offline on Tuesday, June 28. All active accounts will be deactivated that day as well.
The move is just the latest downward turn for the troubled payment project.
In May, MCX CEO Brian Mooney announced the company was postponing the nationwide roll out of CurrentC and lay off nearly 40 percent of its workforce.
Founded in 2012 by a group of retailers including 7-Eleven, Darden Restaurants, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target and Walmart, MCX began developing CurrentC as a merchant solution capable of integrating a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs. CurrentC was originally intended to be a competitor for mobile payment giants Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
However, CurrentC and MCX quickly ran into problems after allegations surfaced the latter was planning to fine member companies for accepting Apple Pay. Reports also indicated participants in CurrentC’s 2014 beta program had been hacked.
Despite the bad press, CurrentC remained slated for a 2015 launch. But as of December the solution was still in a test phase and participating retailers – including Walmart – began to look to other mobile payment options.
CurrentC on its website said it has “not yet determined” what the future will hold for the mobile payment system. However, a Thursday report from Bloomberg indicated MCX is planning to shift its support to back JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Chase Pay system instead of pursuing further development of CurrentC.
MCX’s support for Chase Pay wouldn’t be anything new. The retailer group partnered with Chase on the launch of Chase Pay back in October as the bank’s “premier partner.”
At the time, Chase said Chase Pay would be made available to all of its 94 million credit, debit and pre-paid card holders by mid-2016. The service was originally slated to be progressively rolled out at merchant locations where CurrentC was accepted.
It is unclear whether CurrentC compatibility will still be a factor in Chase’s roll out plan.