Apple Pay uses standard NFC.
I paid with it at CVS until they blocked it (and Google wallet)
The only apple specific part is the link between apple pay and your bank or credit card. Those same cards can be used with Google wallet. There's no lock in to Apple.
CurrentC on the other hand directly links to your bank, so you can't use credit. They need your SS# and drivers license. They store all that in the cloud and actually try to make that sound more secure than having it on your phone (btw Apple doesn't store your card info on the phone or anywhere they just store a unique device token on dedicated hardware that can only be used for apple pay purposes directly with the bank).
Also if there's any fraudulent activity with CurrentC it's all on the customer to deal with it.
They also track and log all health related purchases as well as location data and other purchase history.
CurrentC is just to collect data so they can sell it and make money it's garbage. And it won't be out for months but I have Apple pay now and want to use it and others use Google wallet.