Feeds

Best Buy, Target, Walmart, others to take on Google Wallet

Big box retailers cozy up for mobile payment scheme

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

In a move that opens a new front in the ongoing bricks-and-mortar versus e-commerce struggle, a group of fifteen major retailers have joined forces to develop a new mobile payment system to challenge Google Wallet.

The consortium, which includes such American heavy-hitters as 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS, Lowe's, Shell, Target, and Walmart, has formed a new company called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which will offer a mobile-commerce solution under the same name.

"Combined, these participating member merchants already serve nearly every smartphone-enabled American on a weekly basis, giving MCX the unique ability to offer a mobile-commerce solution that truly works for consumers," the group's website says.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the group said that the combined annual sales of its founding members totaled around $1tn. Doubtless the MCX members would like to hang onto as much of that pie as possible as the market for mobile transactions grows.

According to a Juniper Research report, although sales of physical goods by mobile phone are only expected to account for 4 per cent of retail transactions by 2017, they will amount to more than $1.3tn in total revenue.

So far, MCX has shared little about how its payment system will work, except to say that development of its mobile application is underway that it will offer "a flexible solution that will offer merchants a customizable platform with the features and functionality needed to best meet consumers' needs" – for all that's worth.

The one telling statement it has made is that its application "will be available through virtually any smartphone."

This would seem to indicate that whatever form the MCX system takes, it will not be based on Near Field Communication (NFC), the pay-by-bonk tech that powers Google Wallet. At present, NFC is only available on a relatively select group of handsets, which doesn't include any current iPhone models.

More likely, MCX will involve technologies that are already built into most smartphones, such as SMS messaging, web-mediated transactions, or camera-based technologies such as QR codes.

In addition to Google Wallet, MCX faces competition from a number of other challengers. Leading the pack is Isis, a payment system backed by mobile carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon; and Square, a startup currently valued at $3.25bn, which last week received a $25m investment from coffee megachain Starbucks.

The key to success for any of them will be convincing consumers to adopt the technology. MCX says it believes it can do that by providing an efficient system that works across a variety of brick-and-mortar businesses, including retail, casual dining, and fuel stations, in addition to allowing e-commerce.

"As merchants, no one understands our customers' shopping and payment experience better than we do," Best Buy's Mark Williams said in the MCX press release, "and we're confident that together we can develop a technology solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.