Tag Archives: MCX

Where’s the Love? Let’s talk MCX / CurrentC…

I’ve been in the emerging tech space for 20+ years. So often, I have sided with the “underdog” who uses technology to try to beat the status quo incumbents in a market. I’m a believer in new technologies pushing incumbents, creating new paradigms, and better experiences for consumers in the market. (Thank you, Uber!)

So, why is it that so many of us are sensing negativity towards MCX? After all, isn’t THAT what they are doing? …Pushing the status quo of the payments market through technology?

I was sifting through the hundreds of tweets from Dekkers’ recent Money2020 and something struck me. If the tweets overall represented an unbiased account of what people were hearing, it appeared that Dekkers was presenting CurrentC as a consumer value proposition, saying the consumer would choose the winner. But if that were the case, why would there be forced exclusivity arrangements by the member retailers not to take other mobile payments options? Where’s the consumer choice there?

To be fair, Apple is taking a closed approach as well. So far, any payments issuer who wants to play on the iPhone 6 and beyond needs to be part of ApplePay (and it appears PayPal is NOT allowed in at the moment.)

…So, why does the negativity skew so heavily on MCX? Let’s assume for a moment the consumer experience were comparable (which it looks like it won’t be). Let’s assume the value proposition is as high for the consumer as it is for the retailer (which it looks like it won’t be.) And let’s assume the consumer has just as many choices to pay the way they want to pay (which it… you get the point.) Set all these aside for a moment…

Is it possible that, because Apple has one of the strongest consumer brands in the world on the very device we need for the service, MCX got very unlucky by choosing the wrong enemy?

Think about it… Would anyone care as much if it were a war between the big box retailers and our not-so-beloved mobile operator brands? I doubt it. In fact, consumers might sit back, throw back some popcorn, and enjoy the fight…

But something seems different here. Apple users are outraged (and will continue to be outraged) that their favorite brand is being scoffed by the retailers.

Let’s assume MCX can fix CurrentC’s potential consumer experience issues (why is this a war of handshake technologies, anyway?!) …But to strong-arm a consumer’s favorite and beloved Apple brand? Well, some day, in the not-so-distant future, MCX retailers may look like the bad guys that don’t take ApplePay. And that’s when defections will happen… And THAT could be MCX’s downfall.

Will MCX’s CurrentC gain the consumer adoption necessary to win?

If a mobile payment service requires any effort on the consumer side and does not support mainstream behavior, it will fail.

For adoption of mobile payments, 3 principles need to be in place:

1. Has a clear value proposition addressing a specific pain point at launch for either the payer or payee

(OK, check for Retailers)

2. Displaces a far inferior payment alternative which can not fight back (e.g. cash or check)

(Questionable as it’s unlikely ACH /bank payments trumps existing credit consumers would have)

3. Has no significant barriers to entry such as regulatory barriers, prohibitive infrastructure cost, or complex partnership requirements.

(Problem: a clunky consumer experience coupled with requirement to sign up bank account could cause too much hurdle for consumer adoption.  Why clunky? Because consumers are used to having a bar code scanned rather than having to first scan a bar code, then have the bar code scanned… Also, consumers will likely be hesitant to sign up their bank accounts… and finally, who would want their health history data to be shared with retailers?!)

I hope for MCX’s sake that this TechCrunch article is not correct.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/10/25/currentc/
Else, we could see a big problem for consumer adoption of CurrentC.

Looking forward to hearing Dekker’s presentation at Money2020 and the resulting discussion.