Merchant Customer Exchange mobile payment system coming soon

Smartphones

Major retailers including Best Buy and Walmart are partnering on a mobile payment app called Merchant Customer Exchange as a shot across Google Wallet’s bow. Photo Credit: Cambodia 4 Kids Beth Kanter/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

Mobile payments are the next big thing in consumer finance, or using cellular phones to pay for purchases. Ergo, a lot of big companies are jumping on the bandwagon, including the new Merchant Customer Exchange system touted by Walmart, BestBuy and 7-Eleven, among others.

Walmart, Best Buy launch Merchant Customer Exchange across Google’s bow

The big thing for the upcoming year or two is going to be mobile payment systems. More smartphones are getting equipped with technology that allows them to engage in mobile payments, such as near field communication chips and so forth. As more people acquire smartphones, more people are able to use mobile payment systems.

Currently, there are only a handful of mobile payment systems. Aside from mobile card readers, the biggest is perhaps Google Wallet, though only a small number of devices can actually use it and only a handful of retailers have point-of-sale machines that can process the payments. However, according to USA Today, Walmart, Best Buy, 7-Eleven and some other retailers are launching Merchant Customer Exchange, a mobile payment app, straight across Google’s bow, as it were.

Walmart has an app for that

Instead of using a chip-and-reader system, Merchant Customer Exchange will rather be a smartphone app. It’s proprietary, according to the Wall Street Journal, in that it’s actually a joint venture between a number of retail and restaurant chains. Aside from Walmart, Best Buy and 7-Eleven, other partners include the Hy-Vee and Publix supermarket chains, CVS, Sears, Lowe’s, Royal Dutch Shell, otherwise known as Shell gas stations, and Darden restaurants.

Darden, according to USA Today, is the parent company for the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurant chains.

A lot of details aren’t being confirmed yet, as MCX, as it’s being called, is in the very early stages. However, since the goal is for it to work across “virtually any smartphone,” according to CNET, the idea appears to be to use an application to pay for purchases. Users will likely enter the purchase amount and their credit or debit card information and then make the purchase. Ostensibly, the application will produce a barcode, which will be scanned at a register, or some sort of confirmation number. The app will also include promotions and coupons.

Mobile payments on the rise

Merchant Customer Exchange doesn’t have a launch date, but does come at an opportune time. According to the Wall Street Journal, business research firm Garner Inc. estimated in a recent study that $172 billion in mobile payments are due to be processed this year. That, according to USA Today, is a 62 percent jump from $105.9 billion in mobile payments made last year. Garner also estimates mobile payments will reach $617 billion by 2016.

Very few stores have a point-of-sale machine that has an NFC reader capable of using Google Wallet. The upcoming Isis payment system, a joint venture between T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, also uses NFC chips and is months from launch. Aside from that, the most popular mobile payment system to date is Square, the mobile credit and debit card reader.

Sources

USA Today

CNET

Wall Street Journal

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