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U.S. Retailers Unite to Form Mobile Payments Network

Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target are among the retailers that have joined forces to form the Merchant Customer Exchange.

A consortium of U.S. retailers -- including Wal-Mart Best Buy and Target -- announced today the formation of a new mobile commerce platform.

The Merchant Customer Exchange will be offering a mobile wallet designed to work with virtually any smartphone, the group said. Development of the group's mobile app is already underway, and is seeking to address "the needs of financial institutions and merchants of all sizes to better serve consumers in the growing mobile marketplace."

The app will be able to integrate a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs, said the group

“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 for Best Buy in a written statement.

Other participating merchants include 7-11, CVS, Sunoco, Shell, Sears and Lowes.

COMPETING SOLUTIONS

The MCX announcement comes on the heels of an announcement last week of a new Mobile Payments Committee made up of companies in the mobile payments market to develop industry-wide solutions. The country's four major mobile networks - Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon - will all participate in the committee, as well as mobile wallet providers Isis and Google Wallet, and financial institutions including Wells Fargo, Capital One, American Express, Discover, Visa and PayPal. That group did not feature any merchants as part of the conglomerate.

Reports indicate that interest in mobile payments is rising rapidly. In July, Framingham-Mass.-based IDC Financial Insights conducted its eighth annual consumer payments survey and found that interest in mobile payments had more than doubled since the last survey, with more than 33 percent of respondents saying that they use mobile payments services.

Further, worldwide mobile payment transaction values are expected to surpass $171.5 billion in 2012, a 61.9 percent increase from the 2011 figure of $105.9 billion, according to a recent report from analyst firm Gartner, Inc. Gartner also predicts the number of mobile payment users will reach 212.2 million by the end of 2012, up from 160.5 million in 2011.

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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