Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Mobile pay: Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy jump on board phone payments

Mobile pay could replace credit cards with phone taps. Now Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy have joined together to bring mobile-pay options to their stores.

By The Associated Press / August 15, 2012

Customers fill the aisles at a Target store in Chicago last July. Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy will launch a joint mobile pay program.

M. Spencer Green/AP/File

Enlarge

NEW YORK

A bevy of big-name retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best-Buy Co. and Target Corp., are teaming up to create a company that will give U.S. customers another way to make purchases: with their cellphones.

Skip to next paragraph

The businesses said Wednesday that the new company, Merchant Customer Exchange, is developing a mobile application that will be available for nearly any smartphone. The app is expected to integrate a variety of coupons, rebates and loyalty programs.

With the announcement, retailers are entering an already crowded arena where different industry groups are jockeying for position on the smartphone screen, which everyone expects will be the new way to pay.

Among the competitors is Internet giant Google Inc., which already has a smartphone payment app in use on some Sprint phones. Three of the biggest cellphone companies — Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA — have a competing platform. Payment networks Visa and MasterCard each have their own designs and apps. Square, a startup, recently struck a deal to become the cellphone payments processor for Starbucks. PayPal, eBay's payment service, is on cellphones, too.

Retailers have a strong position in the arena, since they can decide which forms of payment to accept.

"As merchants, no one understands our customers' shopping and payment experience better than we do, and we're confident that together we can develop a technology solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient," Mark Williams, president of financial services for Best Buy, said.

Mike Cook, corporate vice president and assistant treasurer for Wal-Mart, said in a statement that using 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/pharmacy, Darden Restaurants Inc., HMSHost, Hy-Vee Inc., Lowe's Cos., Publix Super Markets Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., Shell Oil Products US, and Sunoco Inc.

The initial retailers that are part of the new company account for about $1 trillion in annual sales. More retailers are expected to be announced as new members in the coming months, the group said.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!