US retailers move into the mobile wallet market

Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Publix, Sears, Shell and Sunoco are amongst a dozen major merchants that have formed a new company called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) that will provide an alternative to services like Isis and Google Wallet.

Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX)
MCX: “No one understands our customers’ shopping and payment experience better than we do”

A group of leading US merchants has announced the formation of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a new mobile payments and promotions company “dedicated to offering consumers a versatile mobile commerce experience that will combine the convenience of paying at the register with customizable offers.”

The merchants forming MCX are responsible for US$1 trillion in annual sales and include many of the biggest names in the US retail market. 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy; Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, Sunoco, Target and Walmart are all signed up for the project today and MCX says it expects to announce additional members during the coming months.

Future plans call for MCX to be able to “address the needs of financial institutions and merchants of all sizes to better serve consumers in the growing mobile marketplace” — suggesting that the founders see MCX becoming a full competitor to mobile payments services like Isis and Google Wallet.

“Development of MCX’s mobile application is underway,” say the founders. “The initial focus centers on offering merchants a mobile commerce solution capable of seamlessly integrating a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs.”

No details have yet been provided regarding the technology to be used by MCX to deliver its mobile wallet solution but, the group says, “the application will be available through virtually any smartphone”.

“MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders,” says Mike Cook, corporate vice president and assistant treasurer at Walmart. “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 ecommerce.”

“We believe MCX is uniquely qualified to offer the most comprehensive mobile payment options for consumers,” adds Terry Scully, Target’s president of financial and retail services. “By participating in MCX, merchants are in a position to effectively deliver innovative payment approaches that aren’t available today.”

“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 Best Buy’s president of financial services, Mark Williams.

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