Apple Pay competitor CurrentC hacked

CurrentC, a mobile payment system, reported that third parties had obtained the e-mails of its pilot members. CurrentC has been in the news recently after CVS and Rite Aid disabled Apple Pay at their stores.
CurrentC is a mobile payment system that's being developed by Merchant Customer Exchange. The Apple Pay competitor reported that hackers had obtained the emails of pilot program members.

CurrentC has been in the news a lot recently. The mobile payment system is in the middle of a battle between major tech companies and national retailers. But CurrentC has had some trouble recently.

CurrentC was hacked sometime in the past 36 hours. CurrentC is currently being developed by Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a major retail consortium. On Wednesday, MCX sent an e-mail to members of its pilot program to inform them of the breach.

This is what a CurrentC spokeswoman Linda Walsh told The Christian Science Monitor via e-mail: 

Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who had expressed interest in the app. Many of these email addresses are dummy accounts used for testing purposes only. The CurrentC app itself was not affected.

We have notified our merchant partners about this incident and directly communicated with each of the individuals whose email addresses were involved. We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously. MCX is continuing to investigate this situation and will provide updates as necessary.

CurrentC will be connected to a consumer’s debit account, which means stores won't have to pay credit card fees. Though the program isn't expected to launch until 2015, CurrentC has been in the news recently. CVS and Rite Aid, both MCX members, disabled Apple Pay technology at their stores. The move also blocked Google Wallet and Softcard because they use the same wireless system as Apple Pay. 

Spokespeople for CVS and Rite Aid told CNN that they are still "evaluating mobile payment options." That statement is believed to be an indication that MCX stores will favor the CurrentC system once it is developed. 

“Clearly Rite Aid and CVS are making a business decision over a customer satisfaction decision,” Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, told The New York Times.

MCX has touted the systems security, saying customer data is saved on a cloud service and not a personal phone. But recent hacks of cloud devices and this current breach have created some skeptics. 

Apple Pay was launched on Oct. 20 and is already connected to more than 1 million credit cards, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday at a tech conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. Apple Pay is available at 220,000 store locations. The software is available on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and allows users to make purchases by tapping their phone to a register.

When asked about CVS and Rite Aid's decision to disable Apple Pay, Mr. Cook said, "In the long arc of time, you’re only relevant as a retailer and merchant if your customers love you."

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