One of the things you generally don’t expect when you think die-hard Apple consumer or Android-centric fanboy is that they might join together to do anything other than fight about who came up with what first, who perfected it, who marketed it properly, and who’s to credit. Now it seems people are reaching across the Android/Apple aisles to join in a boycott against retailers who have disabled NFC payments on their credit card processing terminals in favor of CurrentC.
While NFC payments via phone have been around for quite a while on Android (Google Wallet for one,) they’ve never really gained traction as carriers fought to install their own payment systems, there were concerns over security of the devices which caused higher processing rates initially, and retailers have been very slow to replace equipment that was already working for them.
Now with Apple coming out with their NFC Apple Pay, the vast majority of devices now have the option to pay via NFC and unfortunately several retailers are disabling that option so that they can pursue the much more lucrative/lower fee transaction rates offered by CurrentC (described by some as a convoluted system with minimal consumer benefits and serious privacy concerns).
Users on Reddit in the /r/android and /r/apple subforums have called on everyone to boycott the following places that have disabled the easy payment options offered by their devices in favor of the intrusive CurrentC app:
- Old Navy
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Sam’s Club
- Bed, Bath & Beyond
- Banana Republic, Stop & Shop, Wendy’s
- Most major gas station chains
- CVS, RiteAid have evidently joined the ranks
It should be noted that the requested boycott is not on places that simply don’t accept NFC, it’s on those who have partnered with CurrentC and deliberately disabled NFC payments, which now charge the same rates as credit card payments.
Currently Apple NFC payments get around 10% lower transaction fees than a credit card does due to deals they’ve brokered with banks, and merchants pay card-present transactions with Google Wallet. So in either case accepting these forms of payment is as good or better for the business than accepting credit cards.
Looking through the list this doesn’t affect me in the least, so I’m on the boycott by simple extension of either not going to, or not having any of these businesses in my state. Plus the only gas station I do use regularly accepted NFC the last time I walked into the store.
What are your thoughts on these stores requiring you to use an app that stores SSN and other vital identifying information in the cloud? In their defense, NFC payment while as cheap to process as a credit card transaction still generally costs retailers between 1.5 and 3% of the transaction.