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Retailers Band Together to Create Smartphone Payment App

22 Aug, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – The Associated Press (AP) reported last week that Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best-Buy Co. and Target Corp., among others, are joining forces to create a company that will let customers buy products with their cellphones.

The consortium of companies, called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCE), is creating a mobile application for smartphones that will integrate several coupon, rebate and loyalty programs.

MCE is entering a highly competitive arena where several industry groups are seeking space on smartphone screens. Google already has a smartphone payment app along with three other huge players – Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA. Plus, Visa and MasterCard each have designs and apps. The AP also reported that a new startup, called Square, recently struck a deal to become the cellphone payment processor for Starbucks. PayPal, eBay’s payment service, is available on cellphones, too.

Mark Williams, president of financial services for Best Buy, told the AP that, as merchants, MCE understands its customers’ shopping and payment experience better than anyone else, and that the group is confident it will be able to develop a “solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient.”

A statement from Wal-Mart said a mobile app will help to cut down costs and make shopping faster and more convenient.

Other retailers included in Merchant Customer Exchange are 7-Eleven Inc., Alon Brands, CVS, Darden Restaurants Inc., HMSHost, Hy-Vee Inc., Lowe’s Cos., Publix Super Markets Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., Shell Oil Products US, and Sunoco Inc.

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