Aug. 15 - A newly formed group of retailers is joining a crowded field of contenders competing for a share of the mobile payments space. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Fishing out credit cards could soon be obsolete- as mass adoption of smartphones may finally be taking mobile phone payments mainstream. A newly formed retailer-led initiative called the Merchant Customer Exchange has announced plans to launch a mobile phone app to compete with players like Google Wallet and Square. The list includes heavy hitters in a range of consumer driven businesses, accounting for about $1 trillion in annual sales. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REPORTER, REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The sheer size of the players in the MCX venture is key. This 7-11 in New York's Times Square is one of more than 9,000 outlets in North America. The chain's also got experience. They have been taking mobile payments in their international locations like Japan for years." For retailers it's all about control and influence. Forrester Research Senior Analyst Denée Carrington: SOUNDBITE: DENÉE CARRINGTON, SENIOR ANALYST, FORRESTER RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They can know what you are interested in; your buying preferences, and they can deliver great value in terms of coupons and offers that are especially relevant to you, that can redeem immediately at point of sale and integrate back with their loyalty program, and really have a seamless experience in relation to you." The field is getting crowded- online merchant PayPal has announced deals with 15 retailers to use its system for mobile payments. Square is now available at all Starbucks. But the opportunity is also growing. According to Juniper research, mobile payments are expected to surge to more than $1.3 trillion by 2017. But the clock is ticking. And MCX has no launch date for their app. Spokesperson Jeremy Mullman: SOUNDBITE: JEREMY MULLMAN, SPOKESPERSON, MERCHANT CUSTOMER EXCHANGE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Mobile payments is really, really in an early stage in the U.S. Generally especially if you look at Europe or some other places it's just not at the same point. So this is very early this market is still being formed. We don't see anyone running away with it right now and we are not concerned about it. " In the end, it's not necessarily a winner take all. SOUNDBITE: DENÉE CARRINGTON, SENIOR ANALYST, FORRESTER RESEARCH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think over time consumers will settle to one to three different solutions. I don't think it will be just one but it's similar to the way we spend on credit cards. Right there is probably your primary card and then you have a couple of others that you compartmentalize what type of spend you put on that particular card." Carrington says it's just a matter of time until Apple announces a system to rival Google's Android-only Wallet. And look for the credit processing giants like Visa and Mastercard to try to get a seat at the table as well. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.