Apple Pay fans tears down CurrentC’s App Store rating, MCX suggests possible switch to NFC technology

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:53
Category: Finance, iOS, News, Software

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The most recent volley in the NFC payment war between Apple Pay and the MCX consortium’s CurrentC mobile payment service has been fired.

And it has a lot to do with app reviews.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users have expressed their displeasure with the CurrentC app, at the time of writing, the app having accumulated 2,856 1-star reviews against a total of just 30 reviews giving it 2 stars or more …

The movement to boycott merchants who are members of the MCX consortium also seems to be growing in popularity, gaining a Boycott MCX website with a full list of members. When you click on the name of a consortium member (CVS Pharmacy in the example shown below), a list of competing stores who accept or plan to accept Apple Pay is displayed.

Having been criticized for its clunky use of QR codes, MCX said yesterday that CurrentC may “pivot to NFC over time.” The company had earlier said that it was “entirely possible” that it would do a U-turn on its current exclusivity requirement and allow merchants to accept both CurrentC and Apple Pay at some point in the future, though no certainty or timeframe was offered.

MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson also expanded on yesterday’s less than convincing assurances about data security, saying that the recent hack “does not impact the rollout of CurrentC at all” – that the company expected attacks and will “deal with them.”

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Hours after citing capable security, CurrentC announces unauthorized access of users’ email accounts

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 16:35
Category: Finance, iOS, News, security, Uncategorized

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Hubris, anyone?

Just hours after publishing a blog post answering some questions about its upcoming CurrentC mobile payments system and touting the security of its cloud-based storage of sensitive information, the company behind the effort, Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) has alerted users of unauthorized access to their email addresses.

Per MacRumors, the company released the following statement:

Thank you for your interest in CurrentC. You are receiving this message because you are either a participant in our pilot program or requested information about CurrentC. Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you. Based on investigations conducted by MCX security personnel, only these e-mail addresses were involved and no other information.

Details on the unauthorized access have not been disclosed, but reporter Nick Arnott of iMore took some time earlier this week took a look at some of the personal information being collected by MCX and CurrentC and noted that he could ping CurrentC’s systems to look for valid registered email addresses on the system. While he did not find valid addresses, the system appeared capable of returning a substantial amount of personal information about such accounts.

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Microsoft releases updated Office 365 APIs, iOS SDKs to development community

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:48
Category: iOS, News, Software

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Not that the competition between Apple and Microsoft will ever truly go away, but this could herald in slightly better relations between the two companies, especially given how long it took Microsoft Office to come to iOS.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Microsoft has released a new series of tools for developers looking to improve integration between their apps and the company’s Office 365 service. For iOS users and developers, the main point of interest will be the new 365 APIs for mail, files, calendar, and contacts. There is currently more than 400 petabytes of data stored via Office 365, and these news tools will allow developers to access that information from their own apps.

These API’s will provide better options for connecting apps to users who need to use Office 365. Microsoft hopes to see travel reservation apps that connect to your 365 calendar and sales automation apps that integrate with your mail and files to save and send receipts.

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MCX responds to Apple Pay blocking controversy with questionable responses to issues at hand

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 11:46
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News, security, Software

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The most recent shot in the NFC payment wars has been fired.

And it kind of made MCX look like a bunch of jerks.

Per 9to5Mac, MCX, the retailer consortium behind the CurrentC mobile payment system, has responded to the controversy over its members being required to block Apple Pay or face fines with some unconvincing ‘assurances.’

The first sign of trouble between MCX and Apple Pay was when CVS disabled NFC functionality from its payment terminals. When Rite Aid joined in, consumers responded by threatening to boycott MCX members.

In a blog post which MCX says is designed to “set the record straight,” as it were, MCX responded to some of the recent concerns levied against it.

Responding to the fines issue, the company offered the following comment:

Importantly, if a merchant decides to stop working with MCX, there are no fines.

Nobody has suggested there are. What has been suggested–and which MCX has not denied–is that members are fined if they accept other forms of mobile payment, like Apple Pay, alongside CurrentC.

The consortium gets off to a marginally better start on privacy, with a statement that consumers “can choose to limit the information they share through our privacy dashboard, which means they will have the ability turn off location based services and opt out of marketing communications in our app.” However, that does nothing to limit the storage of other sensitive information, nor to address claims that merchants will share purchasing data amongst themselves.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook cites over one million Apple Pay subscriptions in first 72 hours

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 15:48
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News

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Apple may have gotten a pretty quick leg up in the NFC market.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a recent interview today, stated that Apple Pay received more than one million registrations within the first 72 hours.

“The early ramp [of Apple Pay] looks fantastic,” Cook said in an interview with WSJ managing editor Gerry Baker.

Cook referred to recent revelations that Merchant Consumer Exchange retailers like Rite Aid and CVS are now blocking Apple Pay, characterizing the situation as a “skirmish” that will ultimately be decided by consumers “over the long arc of time.”

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CVS, Rite Aid refusing to accept Apple Pay system, lend support to current CurrentC payment system

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 16:32
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

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Call it a trade blockade of sorts, but you might not be able to use Apple Pay to purchase items at CVS or Rite Aid for a while.

Per the New York Times and 9to5Mac, Rite Aid has joined CVS in disabling Apple Pay as a payment method in its stores. Like CVS, Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer eXchange (MCX) consortium promoting a rival mobile payment service, CurrentC.

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets.

As with CVS, Apple Pay initially worked in Rite Aid stores, indicating that the company has made a deliberate decision to switch off support.

While Apple has declined to comment, MasterCard said that it was the wrong decision.

“We think consumers should have the ability to pay any way they want,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

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Apple announces end to SSL 3.0 notifications on October 29th in wake of POODLE vulnerability

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, 08:05
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

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Sometimes you’ve got to drop back and punt.

Per the Apple developer web site and AppleInsider, Apple announced on Wednesday that it will be removing support for the SSL 3.0 protocol on its Apple Push Notification server.

Apple will be switching off SSL 3.0 support in favor of the more secure transport layer security (TSL) protocol on Wednesday, Oct. 29, noting developers will have to build in support by that time to ensure uninterrupted push notification service continues.

Apps currently using both SSL 3.0 and TSL will not be affected by the change, but those using just SSL 3.0 will need to be updated.

Apple has disabled SSL 3.0 on the Provider Communication interface in the developer environment, offering developers a way to check their apps for compatibility. More information is available through Apple’s Developer Portal.

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Apple to release iOS 8.1, launch Apple Pay today

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Date: Monday, October 20th, 2014, 11:55
Category: Finance, iOS, News, Software

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It’s October 20th.

It’s also the day iOS 8.1 is released to millions upon millions of iOS device users.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple will be releasing iOS 8.1 later today. The update, which could be fairly large and take some time to download using an over-the-air update or iTunes, will also include the much-anticipated Apple Pay feature, which can be used as a payment option both in brick and mortar stores and using apps or within websites.

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Apple to release iOS 8.1 on Monday, October 20th

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 14:57
Category: iOS, News, Software

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You’ll have to wait until Monday for iOS 8.1.

Per the mighty iMore, Apple announced that it will release iOS 8.1, with full support for Apple Pay and features such as the return of the Camera Roll and the iCloud Photo Library.

After iOS 8 launched in September, many users were confused about the disappearance of the traditional Camera Roll and Photo Stream interfaces. Although photos weren’t gone, and simply moved to the collections tab, it seems as if Apple is willing to bring them back. Part of this could be due to the fact of making it easier to differentiate what photos and videos are actually using physical storage and what are using iCloud Photo Library storage, which will also come out of beta as of iOS 8.1. That means that whatever iCloud storage plan you choose, you can use as much or as little as you’d like to offload photos and videos, in turn freeing up actual physical storage.

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Rumor: Apple begins Apple Pay training for employees

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 13th, 2014, 12:07
Category: iOS, retail, Rumor, Software

With the launch of Apple Pay likely only days away, Apple has begun Apple Pay training programs for its own group of retail store employees and by working with retailers to prepare for the debut later this month. According to 9to5Mac, training materials, shared by a reliable source, for the Apple Pay launch at Apple retail stores have also detailed some new specifics regarding the Apple Pay setup and transaction processes both on customer iPhones and in Apple retail stores…

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As can be seen in the image above, Apple Pay can be set up via the Passbook application through both the initial iOS 8 setup process or in a new Settings.app tab called Passbook & Apple Pay. Some of these details were previously revealed by internal settings in the latest iOS 8.1 beta seed for developers.

Credit cards can be added to Passbook via an iTunes account or by using the iPhone’s camera to scan in details. Passbook will be able to store up to 8 credit/debit cards, according to the training materials.

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