Apple Pay rival defends service, says it won't fine members who leave

A mobile payment service backed by Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other leading retailers is defending its practice of prohibiting its members from accepting alternatives such as Apple Pay.

In a conference call with reporters, Merchant Customer Exchange shopped short of giving a reason for requiring exclusivity. But officials say retailers may choose to leave without penalty, so they could accept those alternatives, which are based on a wireless technology called NFC. MCX officials also say that its members might be able to accept such alternatives in the future.

MCX is testing its CurrenC system and plans to launch it in 2015.

The service has garnered criticism as some of the group's biggest members, like CVS, 7-Eleven, Best Buy and Wal-Mart, are refusing NFC payments even though they have the equipment.