Walmart (WMT) and Apple (AAPL) are in a bit of a tussle over Apple Pay, Apple's mobile payment system on the iPhone 6.
Walmart is a leader of MCX, a group of merchants working on their own mobile payment system.
Walmart isn't accepting Apple Pay right now. Members of MCX, including Rite Aid (RAD) and CVS (CVS), shut down support for Apple Pay after a few days of accepting it, likely out of a contractual obligation to MCX to only use MCX's mobile payment solution.
MCX's alternative to Apple Pay is called CurrentC. It's been in development since 2012, and it's a much clunkier solution. The user has to open the CurrentC app, then use a camera to scan a QR code, which is a boxy, bar code type of thing. Or, they unlock the phone, open the app, then have a QR code generated that gets scanned by the retailer.
After we wrote about CurrentC earlier, a Walmart PR rep reached out.
During a back-and-forth, we asked why Walmart doesn't accept Apple Pay, which is a pretty elegant solution to mobile payments. An iPhone owner simply holds their phone to a payment terminal, then uses her fingerprint to confirm payment.
Here's what we were told:
Our emphasis is added in there. These are mega corporations fighting for billions of dollars -- Apple, the banks, Walmart, etc. -- so it's hard to know who to really trust.
There are certainly a lot of compelling technologies being developed, which is great for the mobile-commerce industry as a whole. Ultimately, what matters is that consumers have a payment option that is widely accepted, secure and developed with their best interests in mind. MCX member merchants already collectively serve a majority of Americans every day. MCX's members believe merchants are in the best position to provide a mobile solution because of their deep insights into their customers' shopping and buying experiences.
But, we would trust that Apple is working with consumers in mind.
And we would guess that Walmart is less concerned about consumers. It is more concerned with eliminating the 2 percent fee that comes with credit card purchases. CurrentC bypasses credit card fees, which will save Walmart money in the long run.
In fact, Ron Shevlin, a retail banking analyst, says he asked former Walmart CEO Lee Scott why MCX could succeed when so many other consortium had failed. Scott's answer tells you a lot about CurrentC, and MCX. He said, "I don't know that it will, and I don't care. As long as Visa suffers."