In another sign of the burgeoning mobile-payments industry, several leading U.S. merchants have joined a new company that will let customers pay for things with their smartphones.
Best Buy Co., Inc., CVS/pharmacy, 7-Eleven, Inc., Sears Holdings, Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. are among the retailers announcing the formation of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX).
"MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders," said Mike Cook, corporate vice president and assistant treasurer of Wal-Mart, in a statement. "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."
Mobile commerce is a fast-growing industry, and a number of competing payment applications for wireless devices are flooding the market. Juniper Research forecasts that global mobile payment transactions will grow to more than $1.3 trillion annually by 2017.
MCX will compete with the likes of Google Wallet and Isis, a joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.
Other members in MCX include Alon Brands, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Inc., Lowe's, Publix Super Markets, Inc., Shell Oil Products US and Sunoco, Inc.
Although mobile payments is a promising field, the author of a new report from Juniper Research cautioned that "consumer awareness is extremely low."