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Retailers Band Together to Bring Mobile Wallet to Market

The merchants, which include 7-Eleven, Sunoco, Target and Walmart, will develop a mobile payment network together.
August 16, 2012

NEW YORK CITY - Yesterday, 14 large retailers revealed their agreement to work together on a new mobile payment network, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) includes 7-Eleven, Sunoco, Target and Walmart, among other merchants.

MCX has yet to schedule a launch date or hire a CEO, and none of the companies involved are revealing their monetary contributions to the development process. Tech companies and financial firms have been funneling billions of dollars into mobile-payment system development.

Many retailers and financial companies believe consumers will soon embrace mobile payments. Gartner Inc. estimates that mobile payment transactions will top $600 billion around the world by 2016, up from $172 billion in 2012.

"We€™re open to all partners, but it has to be beneficial to member merchants in a way that improves the system and doesn€™t layer on additional costs," said Mike Cook, corporate vice president and assistant treasurer at Walmart.

Other retailers in MCX, including Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe€™s, Publix Super Markets, Royal Dutch Shell and Sears. "I do believe that retailers are uniquely qualified to address what we believe are consumer desires in this space," said Terry Scully, president of Target's financial and retail services.

The group is starting out behind other competitors, such as Google Wallet, which debuted last year on Android devices, and Isis, which is from At&T, T-Mobile and Verizon and scheduled to begin testing shortly in Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City. Even Starbucks is dabbling in mobile payments with its recent agreement with Square, which will eventually lead to all credit and debit card transactions at U.S. Starbucks locations going through Square.