Apple Pay has the potential to change the way we pay for everyday goods and services by letting us store all sorts of payment info right on our gadgets. But, could it be dead in the water before it even takes off? Pharmacies Rite Aid and CVS have decided to block the use of Apple Pay and other third-party mobile payment apps like Google Wallet in their stores. And, they're not alone. Some of the biggest store chains in the country are partnering to develop their own payment app.
Rite Aid and CVS are just the latest companies to choose CurrentC over Apple Pay. CurrentC is a mobile payment app being developed by a collection of huge retailers like Walmart, Kmart and 7-Eleven. It's scheduled for release some time next year. The app won't be exactly the same as Apple's platform but will basically do the same thing - let you pay for everything with your smartphone.
The biggest difference between Apple Pay and CurrentC is the use of credit cards. Apple has the support of most major banks, so it should be easy for you to store your credit and debit card info from any financial institution. The banks aren't on board with CurrentC, though.
Meanwhile, not a single bank backs CurrentC. That's because the system is designed to cut out the middleman — and credit card processing fees. The app, when it launches next year, won't replace your plastic credit card. Instead, it will withdraw directly from your checking account when you pay at the cash register with a QR code displayed on your Android or iOS device.
But, CurrentC does have its merits. The app will work with specific credit cards through participating stores. It'll also work with gift cards, too.
Taking on Apple isn't usually a sound business decision, but CurrentC could really succeed because it's already got the support of a lot of big time retailers. After all, Walmart is one of the developing partners and it's the single largest retailer in the world.
CurrentC currently has 58 stores signed up to participate. They include most major gas stations, 7-Eleven, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Chili's, Dunkin' Donuts, Kmart, Kohls, Old Navy, Sam's Club, Sears, Target and Wendy's.
Apple Pay, meanwhile, is down to 34 participating stores. I wouldn't count Apple out just yet, though. It's backed by most major financial institutions and still has the backing of popular brands like Babies R Us, Disney Store, Footlocker, Macys, McDonalds, Petco and - don't forget - Apple itself.
Both of the apps have their upside. Depending on which stores you frequent, you might end up using both of them in the future to make quick and easy payments at your favorite retailers.