New MCX retail consortium fires mobile payments warning shot

by David Needle

August 15 2012

Watch out Google, PayPal, Square and all the rest, a group of high profile merchants have joined forces to come up with their own mobile payments solution.

The newly-formed Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) says it’s working on a mobile-commerce solution that will be able to integrate a wide variety of consumer offers like coupons, promotions and retail programs.

The app will be available through virtually any smartphone and the group’s impressive member list should help ensure its wide adoption.

MCX members include 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS/pharmacy, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe’s, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, Sunoco, Target and Wal-Mart.

According to MCX these initial members already serve nearly every smartphone-enabled American and account for approximately $1 trillion in annual sales.

But the news also comes at a time when consumers already have a gaggle of online and mobile payment options including those provided by the major credit companies, Google Wallet, Square and PayPal. On the other hand, these retailers have the resources to promote the MCX app in ways that may make it more attractive than alternatives via incentives or other promotional means.

A spokesperson for MCX, Jeremy Mullman, said today’s release is to announce the formation of the company and to expect news of additional members in the months ahead. However, at this time, MCX is not saying when the new service will be available.

“The idea is to make these payments less expensive, take a lot of inefficiency out of the system and help these merchants get closer to their customers with personalized offers,” Mullman told TabTimes. 

“By participating in MCX, merchants are in a position to effectively deliver innovative payment approaches that aren’t available today,” said Terry Scully, president of financial and retail services at Target.

Mark Williams, president of financial services at Best Buy, also commented:

“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.”

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