Grocery chain Meijer continues accepting Apple Pay despite CurrentC support

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2014
Though it is a member of the MCX group behind the upcoming CurrentC mobile payment system, grocery chain Meijer still supports Apple Pay and plans to continue to do so, in apparent violation of MCX's exclusivity rules.


Grand opening of a new Meijer store in Homer Glen, Ill., this July. Credit: Meijer.


Meijer's "tap-to-pay" near-field communications terminals are compatible with both Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and the company has no plans to change that, it said in a statement to MLive. That's in contrast to other MCX partners like Rite Aid and CVS, who disabled their NFC terminals shortly after the launch of Apple Pay earlier this month.

MCX is a consortium of merchants behind a forthcoming mobile payment system dubbed CurrentC. The terms of the MCX agreement require retailers to exclusively support CurrentC, which would leave out competitors like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

There have also been claims that merchants who support Apple Pay in addition to CurrentC could be hit with fines, but MCX has responded to those rumors, calling them "untrue." Still, MCX's current contracts state that retailers cannot support other payment systems, so it's unknown what penalties, if any, Meijer could face.

Meijer is headquartered in Walker, Michigan, and has more than 200 stores across the U.S. Historically a grocery store, Meijer has since expanded to become a chain of "hypermarkets," offering groceries, department store goods, and even gasoline.



CurrentC is set to roll out in 2015, and it utilizes unique QR codes that are presented from a user's smartphone upon checkout. Major partners include Walmart and Best Buy, in addition to Meijer, CVS and Rite Aid.

The consortium of major retailers is looking to bypass credit card network fees by linking directly to customers' bank accounts. While avoiding swipe fees, MCX hopes to entice customers to embrace CurrentC by offering loyalty programs, coupons and special offers tied to the use of the mobile payments system.

Apple Pay, meanwhile, works with existing credit card providers, allowing users to continue to receive the same points, benefits and rewards they earn by swiping their card. The tap-to-pay system requires users to simply place their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus within proximity of an NFC terminal, then authenticate the purchase with their fingerprint on the handset's Touch ID sensor.

While CurrentC has faced consumer backlash in the wake of some retailers blocking Apple Pay and Google Wallet, the MCX program currently in trial was hacked this week, resulting in some consumer email addresses being obtained. The hack has only served to further generate concerns over the CurrentC system, which plans to store user data, including bank account information, in the cloud.

MCX has said that its system will enhance security by not storing sensitive customer data within its mobile application on users' smartphones. Hosting that information on its "secure cloud-hosted network," MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson said, will lower the risk of the data being compromised if a smartphone is hacked or stolen.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member

    Who's next? 

  • Reply 2 of 61

    "Still, MCX's current contracts state that retailers cannot support other payment systems"

     

    Is there any confirmation on this?  Last I read it was from an unconfirmed anonymous source, and has been denied by MCX.  I'm no fan of CurrentC but I think we need the truth here and not state rumors as if they are fact.

  • Reply 3 of 61
    Congratulations Meijer for having the courage to do the right thing by including Apple Pay. Consider opening stores in the Daytona Beach area so I can become a customer.
  • Reply 4 of 61

    My guess is that while MCX claims not to fine members for supporting NFC payments, they will refuse to process transactions for them, essentially forcing them to make an either/or decision. I really don't think this calculus adds up in MCX's favor.

  • Reply 5 of 61
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    techguy911 wrote: »
    "Still, MCX's current contracts state that retailers cannot support other payment systems"

    Is there any confirmation on this?  Last I read it was from an unconfirmed anonymous source, and has been denied by MCX.  I'm no fan of CurrentC but I think we need the truth here and not state rumors as if they are fact.

    Depending how you interpret it. Anyone supporting Apple Pay/Google Wallet, is merely supporting Mastercard's Paypass or Visa's Paywave. There's no reason to turn off the NFC as you're accepting credit cards.

    What this could be interpreted as however is other "apps" like dedicated bank apps, that require separate technology to support. The entire QR code thing is at least more than a decade old and gained no traction anywhere except in some advertising material (QR codes for coupons never surfaced however) and some specific uses meant to be used on mobile devices only. If a retailer has to add any infrastructure to support it (as in the case of MCX) then yes, it would violate the exclusivity.

    But anyone who already accepts credit cards has no excuse to not accept Apple Pay/Google Wallet/Softcard/SureTap/etc as these are credit card transactions.
  • Reply 6 of 61
    I bet that since CurrentC isn't actuslly released that retailers can use any payment system they like. Once CurrentC is released is probably when fines can occur.

    Meijer is smart - use this time to accept Apple Pay and then decide later if they want to stay with MCX.
  • Reply 7 of 61
    "Nice store you got there. Would be a shame if sometin' happened to it."
  • Reply 8 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,414member
    Great move and great PR not to mention great publicity. Clever ... :)
  • Reply 9 of 61
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,453member
    Reminds me of MSX (many years ago in Holland) also a system backed by large corperartions without a clue.
    It failed miserably (Philips stepped out of the personal computer market as a consequence).
  • Reply 10 of 61
    tleviertlevier Posts: 104member
    Wish I could support them in Colorado. Never heard of this store before.
  • Reply 11 of 61
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    I bet that since CurrentC isn't actuslly released that retailers can use any payment system they like. Once CurrentC is released is probably when fines can occur.

    Meijer is smart - use this time to accept Apple Pay and then decide later if they want to stay with MCX.

    Not only smart but ethically sound. Mcx is caught between a rock and a hard stone here . They are bluffing without holding much if any cards in their hands. Meier just called their bluff now Mcx has to decide whether to raise the bet
  • Reply 12 of 61
    techguy911 wrote: »
    "Still, MCX's current contracts state that retailers cannot support other payment systems"

    Is there any confirmation on this?  Last I read it was from an unconfirmed anonymous source, and has been denied by MCX.  I'm no fan of CurrentC but I think we need the truth here and not state rumors as if they are fact.

    It's right on MCX's blog post by their CEO. However, if the retailer wants out of their agreement with MCX, they can just walk away without any fines (just losing their investment in MCX and all time/effort they had invested). This doesn't mean they can coexist (like Meijer is doing), only that they can choose to walk away without being fined (which was rumored to be the case).

    So it will be interesting if MCX takes the position that Meijer's continuing to take ApplePay and Google Wallet payments to mean that they are leaving MCX.
  • Reply 13 of 61
    Meijer is not here in western New York, but it is a nice market. Shopped one while visiting family in Chicago. Our major market chain, Wegmans, is totally on board with Apple Pay though.
  • Reply 14 of 61

    I found some text in an article that was linked on another site.

     

    Quote: http://www.fierceretail.com/retailit/story/mcx-sees-ach-as-its-interchange-salvation-many-chains-not-so-sure


     Chains are also being asked to commit to three-year mobile payment app exclusivity, meaning they won't support any non-MCX mobile payment other than any mobile payment app they have already deployed.


     

    That explains everything we have been seeing here. Meijer had the NFC terminals in 5 years ago. So that solution is grandfathered for them. They just cannot bring in a new solution while in MCX. Depending on the actual contract wording who knows what it means. The words in the article use "app", but from Meijer's side, they didn't add support for anything since Apple Pay works like a regular NFC credit card. 

  • Reply 15 of 61
    Good on them for defying mcx - easier now MCX says no fines !!!
  • Reply 16 of 61
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,071member

    That 'grand opening' sign is a bit sad. But I'm not surprised that a store is willing to accept payment. One time I was in the Perth casino and I threw a $200 legal tender gold coin on the table and they refused to accept it until I called the pit boss down for an explanation as to why a casino would illegally refuse cash.

  • Reply 17 of 61
    Please write to customer service at CVS, Rite Aid, and especially Walmart and Best Buy and complain. It's not appropriate for the latter two to sell the iPhone 6 and then not let its buyers use its important fingerprint authentication security features.
  • Reply 18 of 61
    Most people are asking "How can Meijer contractually do this?!".

    I believe their CEO simply took a stand and said, "hey, we're not going to disable Apple Pay. if MCX wants to drop us for doing this, then that's fine but currently we're going to accept both."

    The ball is in MCX's court. If they decide to drop Meijer, then I think it just weakens their solution even further.

    Either that or Meijer has a friendlier contract than CVS does...
  • Reply 19 of 61

    Dear Retailers,

     

    Accepting Apple Pay has become a priority for us.

     

    Disposable income talks. Spyware ridden crap walks.

  • Reply 20 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,414member
    applezilla wrote: »
    Dear Retailers,

    Accepting Apple Pay has become a priority for us.

    Disposable income talks. Spyware ridden crap walks.

    That's catchy and true.
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