JPMorgan Chase has acquired the technology behind failed merchant-backed mobile payment service CurrentC.
MCX, a QR code-based mobile wallet joint venture launched by big-ticket US retailers to take on Apple Pay and circumvent credit card fees, hit the buffers after one if its biggest proponents Walmart began the rollout of its own mobile payments service to nearly 600 stores in Texas and Arkansas in May last year. With Walmart going its own way, MCX announced the loss of 30 jobs and the postponement of plans for a nationwide roll-out in favour of forging relationships with major banks.
Chase - one of the first US banks to commit to the merchant venture - says the acquisition will help it to expand the availability of its own-branded Chase Pay service to a wider network of retail merchants.
“When we think about ‘fintech’, we go through a ‘build/buy/partner’ evaluation to decide how we can get to market most efficiently,” says Jennifer Roberts, head of Chase Pay. “MCX has been an important partner, and their technology complements ours, so we’re thrilled to deepen our relationships with the merchant community through the purchase of this technology. This will help us get to market faster.”
Chase Pay launched in November 2016 with a handful of initial merchants, including Best Buy. Other MCX merchants such as Walmart, Shell, Phillips 66, and Wakefern will enable Chase Pay as a payment option over the next year or more, she says.