"We have notified our merchant partners about this incident and directly communicated with each of the individuals whose email addresses were involved," Linda Walsh, a spokeswoman for MCX, said in a statement. "We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously."
The breach comes at a sensitive time for MCX, which is made up of some of the country's largest retailers, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Walgreens. Earlier this week, MCX members CVS and Rite-Aid disabled their capability for accepting Apple Pay, which was launched by Apple last week. The move was widely seen as an effort to prevent Apple Pay from gaining traction.
Both Apple Pay and CurrentC are attempting to convince shoppers to give up cash and credit cards and pay for items through their smartphones. For the retailers behind MCX, wide acceptance of mobile wallets would allow them to better track their customers shopping habits. It would also allow them to avoid paying credit card companies when they process a transaction.
But both Apple Pay and CurrentC must overcome consumer skittishness about sharing financial information on their mobile phones. A Federal Reserve study released earlier this year found that while using mobile phones for banking is becoming more common, concerns about the technology were among the primary reasons people cited for staying away. "Consumers appear to be more cognizant of the need to protect the extensive personal information stored on their phones," the report said.