Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a mobile payment group once backed by Walmart and other major retailers, hits a stumbling block Monday when news broke that the company will delay the launch of its mobile wallet solution and lay off some of its workforce.
In a statement to TechCrunch, MCX CEO Brian Mooney said the company will postpone the nationwide rollout of its CurrentC smartphone payment application. Instead, Mooney said MCX will shift its attention to focus on mobile payment solutions for financial institutions.
According to Mooney, the decision came in response to feedback MCX received both through its Columbus, Ohio, pilot of CurrentC and the marketplace more generally.
The changes will result in the termination of approximately 30 employees, Mooney said.
The news is just the latest troublesome turn for MCX and CurrentC, and comes as former backer Walmart announced the launch of its own mobile payment solution.
Founded in 2012 by a group of retailers including 7-Eleven, Darden Restaurants, Lowe’s, Best Buy, Target and Walmart, MCX sought to offer merchants a solution capable of integrating a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs. That solution was to be CurrentC, which was introduced in late 2014.
Originally imagined as a major competitor to Apple Pay, 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 beta program had been hacked.
Despite the bad press, however, 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.
Walmart first started testing its own solution in Arkansas in December, and on Monday announced the launch of the solution in 110 stores in Arkansas and 480 stores in Texas. The rollout is likely part of a larger launch, as Walmart said it is planning to make the solution available in all of its more than 4,500 U.S. stores in the first half of 2016.
According to Walmart, its Walmart Pay solution is available on any iOS or Android device that can download the Walmart mobile app. The company said the solution is compatible with any major credit, debit or pre-paid card as well as Walmart gift cards.
Walmart said more than twenty million customers already actively use the Walmart app each month.