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Mum About the Details, MCX’s Mooney Hints at ‘Plans on the Table’ Beyond Chase Deal
November 20, 2015

By John Stewart

Last month, the spotlight shone on Merchant Customer Exchange LLC when JPMorgan Chase & Co. officially unveiled its Chase Pay wallet, set to launch next year, and said it will be included in MCX’s merchant-controlled CurrentC application.

Image Credit: MCX
A screenshot from the CurrentC app.

But, as big as that deal is for MCX, the 3-year-old company’s chief executive Brian Mooney tells Digital Transactions News his consortium of 40 big-box retailers, mass merchandisers, grocery chains, and petroleum marketers has more major agreements in the works. “Chase Pay is probably the biggest deal MCX has ever announced,” Mooney says. “It’s a big step forward for us, but it’s not the only step we’re going to make. We have plans on the table to do other things and drive solutions.”

As might be expected, Mooney is loath to give details about MCX’s plans beyond saying, “We’ll continue to look for partners and partnerships.” But he hints that the next big move is likely to come next year and involve the pilot for CurrentC that started Sept. 15 in Columbus, Ohio.

“We will be looking for expansion [of the pilot],” Mooney says. “The exact timeframe I’m not prepared to state yet. In all likelihood, we’d see some movement in 2016. We’re not here to be stagnant.”

A 2016 expansion beyond Columbus, he points out, would coincide with the launch of Chase Pay. When he announced Chase Pay last month, Gordon Smith, chief executive for consumer and community banking at Chase, said the wallet would begin rolling out next summer.

Mooney won’t comment, however, on whether the consortium will be seeking new members any time soon to help fund expansion or other projects. “I wouldn’t rule it out down the line,” he says. “It’s always a possibility, but we’re very comfortable with where we are right now.” Some sources peg the total capitalization from MCX’s current membership—which includes retail behemoths like Best Buy Co. Inc., Target Corp., and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.—at more than $100 million.

Regardless of other potential deals, Chase Pay will clearly represent a huge shot in the arm for CurrentC. All 94 million of the bank’s credit and debit card accounts will be automatically loaded into Chase Pay. These accounts generate 12 billion transactions annually, according to Chase.

As for what MCX is learning from its CurrentC pilot, Mooney says only that “we’re gathering intelligence and feedback” in Columbus and “are very positive about the data.” So far, 10 retail brands and more than 200 outlets in and around the city are accepting the app, which links to the point of sale via barcode technology and includes loyalty capability as well as payment via automated clearing house transfers and the Target RedCard credit and debit cards.

Last month, Mooney, who took over as MCX’s chief executive in April, told a payments conference in Phoenix that “we’ve found some things we want to change in the current product,” without being more specific.

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