You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

50 Major Retailers Are Teaming Up on a Mobile Payment System to Defeat Apple Pay The decision by Rite Aid and CVS to block Apple Pay within its stores over the weekend has shed light on a Walmart-led consortium of retailers developing a contactless payment system of its own.

By Geoff Weiss

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While the arrival of Apple Pay last Monday was heralded by a coterie of retailers such as Bloomingdale's, McDonald's and Whole Foods, two of the nation's largest drug store chains promptly shuttered the service over the weekend -- providing a glimpse into a competing contactless payment system currently in the works, which is rumored for launch early next year.

CVS and Rite Aid, analysts noted, are members of a group of roughly 50 retailers called the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which is creating technology that would enable consumers to purchase goods by scanning a QR code with their smartphones rather than by swiping a credit card.

Led by Walmart, other participants include Best Buy, Dunkin' Donuts, Gap, Lowe's, Target and more -- comprising 110,000 total locations that process over $1 trillion in annual sales.

Related: CVS Health, Rite Aid Block Apple Pay in Their Stores

Rite Aid and CVS were not listed as Apple Pay partners at launch, but Apple noted that the service would function within the roughly 220,000 stores that had already enabled near field communication (NFC) contactless payment technology. Rite Aid and CVS have since turned off their NFC capabilities -- though it remains to be seen whether other MCX members intend to do the same. MCX did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Walmart, which has never had NFC technology within its North American stores, has stated since the launch of Apple Pay that it will not be participating, a spokesperson said.

Related: Indiegogo Becomes First Crowdfunding Platform to Integrate Apple Pay

Apple Pay vs. MCX

In terms of technology and use, Apple Pay and MCX count several major differences.

With Apple Pay, users simply hold their latest generation iPhones near an NFC reader and tap the Touch ID button. Apple says that no credit card numbers are stored on users' devices or on its servers, and noted that it doesn't track users' purchase histories.

MCX, on the other hand, operates with an app called CurrentC, which enables smartphones to scan QR codes displayed on cashier screens (or vice versa.) Unlike Apple Pay, CurrentC collects financial information as well as health and medical data.

Related: 4 Things Businesses and Consumers Need Before They Adopt Mobile Payments

MCX has a leg up on Apple Pay, notes Techcrunch, in that it can automatically apply consumers' coupons, discounts and loyalty programs -- whereas Apple Pay users must still swipe these materials separately. MCX participants could also theoretically band together to offer cross-retailer promotions for another competitive advantage. CurrentC will also likely be compatible with older phones when it launches next year, whereas Apple Pay requires an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

However, Apple Pay trumps MCX in ease of use, Techcrunch writes, in that CurrentC seems to have been spearheaded by Walmart as a way to evade the skyscraping credit card processing fees it faces rather than as a convenience tool for consumers. The pay process itself is fairly clunky in that users must open their phones, launch the app, scan the code and wait for confirmation.

According to early accounts of Apple Pay, on the other hand, the experience appears to be fairly seamless.

Related: I Tried Apple Pay for the First Time and It Worked Flawlessly

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.


What the C-Suite Needs to Know About the True Power of Earned Media

Through debunking common misconceptions and illustrating its impact across the marketing sales funnel, this article urges C-suite members to embrace earned media as a key driver of sustainable growth and brand influence.

Business News

Disney World, Disneyland Will Now 'Permanently' Ban Guests Who Tell This Lie to Skip Lines

The company rolled out changes to its Disability Access Services earlier this week.

Business News

Adobe's Firefly Image Generator Was Partially Trained on AI Images From Midjourney, Other Rivals

Adobe gave bonus payments to people who contributed to the Adobe Stock database to train its AI, even those who submitted AI-generated images.

Business Ideas

7 Link-Building Tactics You Need to Know to Skyrocket Your Website's Rankings

An essential component of SEO, link building is not just a 'Set them and forget them' proposition, but a dance of skills and strategies.