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Faced with more retailer defections, CurrentC shelves its plans and lays off staff

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First it was Best Buy. Then Walmart. Then Target. All three company’s were Merchant Customer Exchange’s biggest proponents of CurrentC, but all three have decided to move ahead with either currently available mobile payment systems or ones of their own.

On Monday, MCX finally saw the writing on the wall and all but called it quits. CurrentC’s national rollout has been postponed for at least the near term, while MCX itself works on building relationships with the banks themselves. It will also lay off 30 employees as a result of the shift.

“As part of this transition, MCX will postpone a nationwide rollout of its CurrentC application,” MCX Brian Mooney said in a statement. “As MCX has said many times, the mobile payments space is just beginning to take shape — it is early in a long game.”

While Mooney’s comments are indeed correct, CurrentC’s fate does not come unexpectedly. The system relied on using a QR code to process payments, a way to do an end-around on the credit card processors. The concept was maligned from the start, and contrasted against the much simpler tap-to-pay options of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Pay.

It also has faced considerable delays. After its announcement with much fanfare back in October 2014, MCX faced trouble in getting the system off the ground, and missed its original 2015 rollout. There were rumors last August that the service would finally be live this year, but since then we haven’t heard much from CurrentC, other than watching its backers either opt to accept NFC-based contactless payments or debut systems of their own.

Worse yet, Paydiant — the system MCX was to use to power the CurrentC application — was bought out by PayPal last year. That left even more questions as to whether CurrentC would ever be viable.

MCX is not providing much more detail on the future of CurrentC, only stressing the “long game” that Mooney speaks of. But with so many questions on where both the service and company go from here, the long game might be very, very short for MCX.

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