Mobile

The Mobile Payments Committee: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile unite for the future of payments

The mobile payments industry is still very much like the Wild West — there’s little law and order, and plenty of gunslingers itching to strike gold. But a new committee today could finally civilize the mobile payments wild lands.

The trade group Electronic Transactions Association today announced the Mobile Payments Committee, a task force that includes representatives from all four of the major U.S. carriers, as well as others developing mobile payments solutions.

Chaired by Jackie Moran, Verizon’s executive director of federal relations, the committee will serve as a way to develop policy and business strategy for the mobile payments industry. Among the issues the committee is tackling, it will help participants figure out the complex business relationships necessary to make mobile payment options interoperable; help legislators and regulators understand how to develop mobile payments public policy; and educate consumers and merchants about the benefits of mobile payments.

“There are a lot of different pathways to enable consumers to use mobile payments,” ETA CEO Jason Oxman told VentureBeat in an interview this morning. “The idea behind the committee is to get all the players around the table, ask everyone to take off their company hats and put on their industry hats, and talk about what issues need to be resolved.”

Oxman has been planning the Mobile Payments Committee since he joined ETA as its CEO just three months ago. “There’s definitely a lot of recognition from the tech side and the payments side of the industry that the two sides are converging,” he said.

With the competing standards, hardware, and goals in the mobile industry, it makes sense for the industry to come together to figure out broader solutions. After all, their biggest challenge is still ahead of them: convincing consumers that they should give a damn about mobile payments.

AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all joining the ETA to take part in the committee, which should hopefully put an end to carrier exclusive payments offerings (like Sprint’s Google Wallet arrangement). Other companies in the Mobile Payments Committee include Google, Isis (itself a union between several carriers), PayPal, Verifone, and Intuit.

One company noticeably absent from the ETA’s roster, as well as the Mobile Payments Committee, is Square. Oxman says Square’s recent partnership with Starbucks shows just how exciting this space is right now. Unsurprisingly, he would welcome Square’s membership in the ETA, especially since Visa (one of Square’s investors) is already a member.

The committee will meet for the first time later this month, the ETA says.

Photo via Shutterstock


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