Rival to Apple Pay is breached by hackers

A coalition of retail stores looking to create a way for people to buy goods through their firm was hacked this week, The Hill has confirmed.

Hackers stole the email addresses of some people taking part in a pilot program of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) coalition’s effort, called CurrentC, according to a spokeswoman.

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“Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who had expressed interest in the app,” spokeswoman Linda Walsh said in a statement.

“Many of these email addresses are dummy accounts used for testing purposes only," she added. "The CurrentC app itself was not affected.”

Companies and people affected by the hack have been notified, Walsh said, and the coalition is investigating the incident.

“We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously,” she said.

On Wednesday, multiple outlets reported that people participating in the CurrentC pilot program received an email notifying them that their email address may have been stolen and warning them not to hand over financial information to anyone posing as the retailer coalition.

The MCX coalition has plans to launch CurrentC next year, which will allow people to pay for items using a QR code on their cellphone instead of digging for their credit card or cash.

Major companies, including Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl’s, are taking part in the effort.

The CurrentC platform is emerging as a rival to Apple Pay, the new payment method announced by the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant earlier this year.

In recent days, CVS and Rite Aid stopped accepting Apple Pay, presumably in order to prepare for CurrentC.

Companies that use CurrentC will not be able to accept Apple Pay or any other rival system, the coalition revealed in a separate announcement on Wednesday.

“When merchants choose to work with MCX, they choose to do so exclusively and we’re proud of the long list of merchants who have partnered with us,” it said.