Big retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Target Corp. and Japan's 7-Eleven said on Wednesday that they are developing a mobile payment network, adding to the proliferation of options to let consumers pay with smartphones.
The system, known as Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), is a retailer-led initiative that would match similar services from Google, which began operating its own system last year on its Android devices.
The Merchant Customer Exchange is working on offering merchants such as retailers, gas stations and restaurants a way to integrate their promotions into the payment plan, which it said would be available through virtually any smartphone.
Earlier this month Starbucks Corp also took on the mobile payments model, employing Square Inc to process payments at its U.S. coffee shops.
The swift rise of mobile payment processing tools in recent years has led some observers to predict a future in which wallets are left at home. That could transform retailing, but also create security issues, particularly if mobile devices are lost or stolen.
Companies involved in MCX along with Wal-Mart, Target and Seven & I Holdings' 7-Eleven include Alon Brands, Best Buy Co. Inc., CVS, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee Inc., Lowe's Cos Inc., Publix Super Markets Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., Shell Oil Products US and Sunoco Inc.
Combined, the initial members in MCX account for about $1 trillion in annual sales, the group said. It plans to announce more members in the coming months.
The MCX system was reported late on Tuesday by The Wall Street Journal.
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