MCX CEO Addresses Hack, Rumors and Competition (Oct. 30, 2014)
It’s been a rough week for Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the retailer-led mobile payments consortium. First there was the tumult over CVS/pharmacy and Rite Aid reportedly turning off NFC capabilities on their terminals, rendering customers unable to make purchases with Apple Pay—or any NFC-based payment method. Yesterday, the company announced email addresses of some participants in a pilot of its CurrentC mobile payment app had been stolen sometime this week.
“Our email provider informed us its system was hacked, exposing some tester email addresses, many of which were dummy accounts,” said MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “Our vendor is examining where the weakness occurred in its system. I think the important thing is that it did not occur in the CurrentC app and that we take this very seriously.” Davidson added that the hack, which did not contain any personally identifiable data, will not delay the full rollout of CurrentC, scheduled for early 2015.
Davidson said he didn’t want to speculate on why MCX’s systems were attacked. However, he did address rumors and what he called misinformation recently circulating about MCX membership, which includes some of the largest retailers, including 7-Eleven, Best Buy Co., Darden Restaurants, Lowe’s, Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores. For example, he said merchants are free to leave MCX, and the consortium doesn’t fine merchants if they allow a customer to use Apple Pay.
“Merchants of MCX created MCX. They invested their time, talent and money to build a consumer-friendly solution. The merchants of MCX are free to make the best decision for their consumers as they see fit,” he said. “There are no fines. It’s simply not true.”
Although much has been made about exclusivity agreements between MCX members and CurrentC, which Davidson confirmed, he said it’s possible that in the future MCX merchants would be able to accept competing wallets.
“No one has the monopoly on the consumer experience,” he added. “Our merchants believe we need to have two or three viable players to build the mobile commerce ecosystem. One simply won’t build the market. There’s no harm in competition.”
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