Mobile

Top retailers band to form MCX, a potential dark horse in mobile payments

A group of more than 14 brand name retailers and merchants have formed a new company called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a mobile payment network that will let customers pay by mobile phone application at participating retail stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations.

Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, 7-Eleven, CVS, and Shell are some of the biggest names backing MCX, which is currently readying a mobile payment application for release. The application will also provide consumers with offers and promotions and will offer integration with retailer loyalty programs.

“MCX will leverage mobile technology to give consumers a faster and more convenient shopping experience while eliminating unnecessary costs for all stakeholders,” Wal-Mart corporate vice president and assistant treasurer Mike Cook said in a statement.

Little else is known about the new entity or its approach to mobile payments, but the direct retailer-to-consumer mobile payment offering may follow the lead of the Starbucks system, a simplistic 2-D barcode set-up that integrates with the company’s My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program. Starbucks, which just made a deal with startup Square to power payments and save on interchange fees, is currently the top mobile payment provider.

The band of retailers participating in MCX believe they can create a system that’s more attractive to consumers than Google’s NFC Wallet or Isis, which is in development by mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

“By participating in MCX, merchants are in a position to effectively deliver innovative payment approaches that aren’t available today,” said Terry Scully, president of financial and retail services for Target.

Most likely, MCX will compete directly with these other systems for attention at the register, and the participating retailers could have a significant say in whether the other contending mobile payment networks find consumer adoption.

Other merchants involved in MCX include Alon Brands, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe’s, Publix Super Markets, Sears, and Sunoco.

Photo credit: Walmart Stores/Flickr


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