Mobile Payment Landscape Heats Up With MCX

Are mobile phone payment systems about to take off?

Considering that no mobile payment system has yet to really take off in North America, there sure is a lot of activity behind the scenes of the retail counter these days. Retailers and institutions are jockeying to get their starting position in what they hope will be a lucrative ecosystem of quick and easy payments by consumers on mobile devices. 
Starbucks recently announced that it is pairing with Square – a mobile credit card processing service – to provide better service by allowing customers to pre-pay for their caffeine fix while waiting in line. Presumably that will prevent customers having any withdrawal induced breakdowns by keeping the coffee assembly line running smoothly at peak periods. 
In a previous post, I had mentioned that a collaboration of retailers including Wal-Mart and Target were working together to provide their own version of mobile payment processing. This system would likely compete directly with Google Wallet, Pay Pal, and Isis, who all have various systems of their own. The Wall Street Journal reported that more news has come out about their plans. The group is named Merchant Customer Exchange or, MCX and apparently more retailers have signed on and they are developing a mobile app. The members include Wal Mart, Target, Best Buy, Lowes, and Sears to name a few. For now it appears that the app will provide delivery of coupons, offers, and promotions to users from the assortment of retailers, but plans may be under way for a NFC type of payment structure. 
Read the press release after the break, or visit

MCX boasts unmatched scale and consumer insights for developing a mobile-commerce solution DALLAS (August 15, 2012) 
– A group of the nation’s leading merchants announced today that it has formed Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a new company dedicated to offering consumers a versatile mobile-commerce experience that will combine the convenience of paying at the register with customizable offers.
Development of MCX’s mobile application is underway. 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. The application will be available through virtually any smartphone. MCX includes merchants such as: 7-Eleven, Inc.; Alon Brands; Best Buy Co., Inc.; CVS/pharmacy; Darden Restaurants; HMSHost; Hy-Vee, Inc.; Lowe’s; Publix Super Markets, Inc.; Sears Holdings; Shell Oil Products US; Sunoco, Inc.; Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Combined, these initial members serve nearly every smartphone-enabled American and account for approximately $1 trillion in annual sales. While current MCX merchants have unmatched scale, MCX intends to address the needs of financial institutions and merchants of all sizes to better serve consumers in the growing mobile marketplace.
“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, Wal-Mart. “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.”
“We believe MCX is uniquely qualified to offer the most comprehensive mobile payment options for consumers,” said Terry Scully, president of financial and retail services, Target. “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 Mark Williams, president of financial services, Best Buy. MCX expects to announce additional members during the coming months. 
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