Walmart issues bogus explanation as to why they don't support Apple Pay

220,000 Stores Start Accepting Apple Pay

Shortly after Apple introduced Apple Pay, Walmart issued a statement indicating that it had no intention of supporting Apple's new mobile payment platform. Walmart's stance was hardly a surprise given that it's one of the leaders of MCX, a consortium of retailers hell bent on bypassing traditional credit card payments with a completely new mobile payment platform altogether. MCX's own mobile payment solution, dubbed CurrentC, is tentatively scheduled to go live in early 2015.

Yesterday, amidst a sea of controversy surrounding CVS disabling support for Apple Pay, Walmart issued a statement to Business Insider explaining why they've chosen not to support Apple Pay.

There are certainly a lot of compelling technologies being developed, which is great for the mobile-commerce industry as a whole. Ultimately, what matters is that consumers have a payment option that is widely accepted, secure and developed with their best interests in mind. MCX member merchants already collectively serve a majority of Americans every day. MCX's members believe merchants are in the best position to provide a mobile solution because of their deep insights into their customers' shopping and buying experiences.

Walmart couldn't have come up with a more disingenuous statement if they tried.

While they're championing (in name only) a mobile payment platform that's widely accepted, secure, and has the best interests of consumers in mind, they're instead lending their support to a solution that serves no one's interests except those of retailers.

Apple Pay is secure. Retailer support simply requires a POS machine with NFC functionality. And as for the interests of consumers, Apple Pay is completely intuitive, easy to use, and privacy friendly. CurrentC, in stark contrast, is a cumbersome mobile payment "solution" that relies upon QR codes and the debiting of consumer checking accounts.

And as for security, having your phone directly linked up to your checking account is just asking for trouble. On this note, Andy Ihnatko writes:

Good luck getting your money back if criminals successfully get into CurrentC's systems and drain thousands of dollars of actual money from your actual checking account.

What's really going on here is that retailers like Walmart are waging a not-so-secret war against credit card companies. Every time consumers make a purchase with their credit card, retailers have to pay a percentage of the transaction amount to credit card companies for facilitating the transaction. The fee is known as "interchange," and retailers absolutely hate it. Retailers whose business model rests upon high volume and low margin transactions hate it even more. As a result, MCX was born as a way to dance around interchange fees altogether.

Walmart's lip service regarding the best interests of consumers is a farce. Consumers aren't interested in giving retailers "deep insights" into their shopping behavior. That's a metric only retailers care about. And yet here Walmart is -- along with other MCX members -- trying rather overtly to position their own self-serving platform as the only mobile payments platform that benefits consumers.

Make no mistake, the MCX consortium isn't specifically targeting Apple Pay. Again, it's a full fledged assault aimed at decreasing the use of credit cards altogether.

Note the following excerpt from an enlightening piece on CurrentC written last month by Ron Shevlin:

At last year's BAI Retail Delivery conference, I hosted a meeting of CMOs from large FIs, which featured Lee Scott, the former CEO of Walmart (who is a member of MCX). I asked Mr. Scott why, in the face of so many failed consortia before it, would MCX succeed?

He said: "I don't know that it will, and I don't care. As long as Visa suffers."