Mega Retailers Jump into Mobile Wallets

August 17, 2012

Today the Official Merchant Services Blog will continue with our Mobile Commerce theme. A group of 14 Major U.S. Retailers recently announced that they have decided to join forces and create their own mobile wallet application. The group, which includes Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best Buy Co. and Target Corp., will call itself Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX.

MCX has no official launch date as of today, but the merchants are determined to jump head first into the expanding mobile payments market. The network of merchants also includes 7-Eleven  Inc., Alon Brands Inc., CVS Caremark Corp., Darden Restaurants Inc., Lowes Co., Sunoco Inc., Sears Holding Corp. and the Publix Supermarket chains.

Merchant Customer Exchange

MCX seeks to corner a piece of the mobile payments market, expected to balloon from $172 billion this year to $600 billion by 2016. The new merchant super group plans on offering a mobile-commerce solution capable of seamlessly integrating a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs. The application will be available through virtually any smart phone.

This move comes about a week after Starbucks announced partnering with Square, a mobile processing start-up that uses smart phone attachments to accept credit cards. Now MCX will not only compete with Square, it has taken away 14 potential partners from the processor. MCX is also bad news for Google, which has been expanding its own mobile wallet platform, called Google Wallet over the past year. Google Wallet uses NFC, or near field communication to transmit payment data from a customers smart phone to an NFC-enabled payment terminal.

Mega-Merchants

With these mega retailers coming together, a new perspective can be used to develop mobile wallet apps. The retailers want to focus on ease of use and security for the consumer.

“As merchants, no one understands our customers’ shopping and payment experience better than we do, and we’re confident that together we can develop a technology solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient,” said Mark Williams, president of financial services at Best Buy.

Mike Cook, corporate vice president and assistant treasurer of Wal-Mart said, “the MCX platform will employ secure technology to deliver an efficiency-enhancing mobile solution available to all merchant categories, including retail stores, casual dining, petroleum and e-commerce.”

Now with many more contenders in the mobile commerce arena, the only thing consumers can do is wait for the dust to settle. The great race to mobile wallet supremacy has begun! Host Merchant Services will keep you up to date on all new technology developments and potential partnerships relating to the mobile payments world.

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