'Merchant Customer Exchange' to Push Mobile Payments
A number of U.S. retailers today formed a new company called the Merchant Customer Exchange that they hope will bring mobile payments to most smartphones. The group is being spearheaded by national chains Wal-Mart, Best-Buy, and Target. The system will work through a smartphone application that can be used to make payments at retail centers and will include loyalty programs and coupons. The Merchant Customer Exchange didn't say if its service will require technology such as near-field communications, though it does expect the system to help it save certain costs. The group is going head to head against other mobile payment systems, including Google Wallet, ISIS, Square, and others. The full list of companies participating in the Merchant Customer Exchange includes 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, CVS/Pharmacy, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe's, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, and Sunoco. More companies are expected to join the organization in the coming months. The Merchant Customer Exchange didn't indicate when the application would become available nor when the service would launch.