Dan Fromer has an interesting piece on Quartz about the effort by CVS and rite-Aid to counter Apple Pay with their own system called “CurrentC.” Fromer is pretty much convinced that Apple has nothing to worry about from CVS, given the company’s poor track record with technology, a case he illustrates with a clever photo of a recent CVS receipt.

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All jokes aside, Fromer lays out the process for paying with CurrentC, which sounds like it was designed by people who actually enjoy standing at a cashier at CVS:

When it comes to actually paying, the system gets even more cumbersome. CurrentC describes the process on its support site: You need to select a “Pay with CurrentC” option on the register, activate your phone, open the CurrentC app, enter a four-digit passcode, press the “Pay” button, “either scan the Secure Paycode that the cashier presents (default) or press the Show button at the bottom of your screen to allow the cashier to scan your Secure Paycode,” select the account you want to pay with, and then press a “Pay Now” button.

 For comparison, paying with Apple Pay is comically simple: Hold your iPhone—sleeping or awake—next to the store’s credit-card reader, touch your finger to your phone’s home button to verify your identity, and that’s it. As long-time Apple watcher John Gruber explains, “What Apple gets and what no one else in the industry does is that using your mobile device for payments will only work if it’s far easier and better than using a credit card.”

I laud CVS for trying to squeeze out the credit card companies from its system (its one redeeming value), but you can only beat the credit card companies by being better in some way. No regular person is going to go through the CurrrentC process just to pick up a coupon or two. Mobile payment should be about speed and security. Apple gets that, and CurrentC, as Fromer notes, does not.

Read more:

This terrible CVS receipt shows why Apple Pay has little to fear from retailers

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Posted by Carlos Alvarenga

Carlos Alvarenga is the Executive Director of World 50 ThinkLabs and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.

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