Another Consortium Spending $1Billion on Digital Wallet Competing with MCX and Apple Pay

4 December 2014
Melbourne Australia
Loren W

This One Might Be the Biggest of Them All


digital wallet

  • Apple Pay – is the digital wallet service from Apple launched in the USA only (for now) in September 2014 that by using NFC (Near Field Communications) touching or almost touching specific Apple devices allows payments to be made instantly, using technology like Visa’s PayWave and MasterCard’s PayPass and AmercianExpress’s ExpressPay Terminals but tied to the security of the newer Apple Devices.
  • However there is a familiar name in finance looking to compete with Apple Pay and their current rival MCX. Andrew Robertson @robertsonabc reporting for ABC News reports that the big 4 Australia banks and 8 other financial institutions are looking to spend $1Billion to introduce a competing system within 3 years. It is with a company called SWIFT Financial and is believed to be a better deal for stores and banks as it bypasses the current delays in receiving payments as payments are received the instant they are made.
  • It is not clear if the payments will only use a bank to bank transfer method (what SWIFT if famous for) or still use credit cards. Currently Apple Pay works with very few debit cards, mostly credit cards, something MCX and SWIFT would love to avoid. Though MCX plans to use credit cards as well.
  • MCX the other digital wallet consortium is coming out sooner in 2015 with their product called Current-C that is not supporting Apple Pay either but is currently not well received by some as it uses older technology (QR codes) than the Apple Pay use of NFC. However some of the largest retailers in the USA has chosen to go with Current-C vs Apple Pay currently, in a war with 1-3% credit card fees. According to a story by Jacob Davidson @JakeD of Money

 The Name Game

  •  Note: A bit confusing on the word-smithing here. Swift is also the new name for the new apple programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa touch (used in new apps) for Apple iOS and OS X devices (iPads, iPhones and Macs).
  • MCX is the Merchant Customer Exchange – a company created by a consortium of U.S. retail companies to develop another merchant-owned mobile payment system, called CurrentC launching in 2015.

SWIFT Financial – Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is the 1973 Belgium founded Cooperative set up and control the standard that currently enables some 9000 banks in 209 countries (and territories) to send 15 million messages a day. SWIFT currently does not send funds only payment orders that banks then use to transfer the funds. SWIFT codes (or BIC codes) are unique to each bank. For instance there are 2300 banks in the USA alone with their own SWIFT codes and 311 in Australia.

  • Apply Financial (not apple) launched the SWIFT App for iOS that offers validates SWIFT/BIC codes. SWIFT has worked with the CIA and NSA since 9/11 and other
    governments to protect various interests. If a bank’s assets were to be ‘isolated’ such as Iran in March 2012, then one of the things they would do is cut off or manage the SWIFT communications. What countries have control over SWIFT has been the topic of discussion since 2012. Apply Financial – offers an ‘API’ – code to make apps and programs so that banks and companies not just banks share SWIFT payment codes SWIFT is a supplier / partner of Apply Financial.
  • Some aspects of this story are attributed to Jacob Davidson @JakeD (twitter) of Money and Andrew Robertson of ABC News Australia @robertsonabc (twitter)

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