Business & Economy

Apple Pay competitor CurrentC reports data breach

Merchant Customer Exchange

The retail organization positioning its own product as a key competitor to Apple Pay may have hit an early snag.

Merchant Customer Exchange, which is pushing a new mobile app called CurrentC as an alternative to the Apple-based payment system, released a statement on Tuesday reporting a data breach involving its clients' email addresses.

MCX said an unauthorized third party had acquired the email addresses of some of the CurrentC pilot program participants and others who "expressed interest in the app" but that the app itself was not affected.

Apple announced its new payment system in early September, promising an easy way to store credit card information — just snap a photo of the card — for use at the checkout stand.

Just a few days earlier, MCX unveiled CurrentC as its own entrant into the mobile payment market. CurrentC promised to circumvent credit cards altogether by allowing users to tap their personal checking accounts directly or use merchant credit and gift cards — a feature might be appealing to retailers, which must pay fees on credit card transactions.

MCX members include retail giants Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and CVS, all of which have opted not to enable Apple Pay in their stores, raising the stakes in the battle for your (mobile) wallet.

MCX points out that many of the email addresses leaked in the data breach were dummy accounts set up for testing. It's still trying to determine what happened.