Have you walked into a store wondering if your credit card is good enough to get accepted in that store? While waiting for your turn at the checkout counter, most of us have to deal with this mind-numbing question: credit card, debit card or plain cash. Now it may be time for you to add one more mode of payment to this list; your smartphone. Don’t wonder when your humble smartphone comes to your aid at the checkout counter. That’s because Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and CVS along with many other mega retailers are planning to form a company that will let customers like us pay for our purchases with our smartphone. This group of big retailers has essentially joined the long list of businesses that have been scurrying to find a place in the growing mobile payment market.
The companies, so far, have given very few details regarding this newly formed mobile payment network. Although we have been told that this network would be called the Merchant Customer Exchange, the companies are mum about the technology or the approximate time it would take to be released to the public. But there is one thing they have been very clear about. And it’s the fact that this application will be available in almost all smartphones regardless of the smartphone’s make. Since safety and security is of paramount importance when it comes to mobile payment, we have been assured that Merchant Customer Exchange will make use of advanced technology that will keep transactions secure.
The idea behind this coming-together of big retailers is that these retailers together make more than a trillion dollars in annual sales. Being in the service industry for a long period, they have come to understand the buying behavior and shopping habits of customers. They also know customers general payment preferences. This makes merchants the right people to provide mobile payment to millions of customers.
Although the details we have presently are very sketchy, it is definite that such a move by a group of big retailers such as Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven is likely be a huge step in advancing the mobile payment technology. So far 14 big retailers have agreed to work together towards developing the mobile payment system but there are still more companies that have shown interest in it and are expected to join this force very soon.
The announcements from these big retailers to come together to develop a mobile payment network has come a week after Starbucks announced that it was teaming up with a lesser known start-up company called Square. Square is a company that allows people to pay for their purchases with their smartphones. By teaming together with Starbucks, the technology of Square will be brought into the mainstream very soon. By entering the very lucrative mobile payment network business, Starbucks seems to have opened the doors to more such collaborations. And the coming together of big retailers is one such sign that mobile payment is definitely a promising dimension of payment network system.
Although the smartphone payments surely have a long way to go before its technology is perfected, it is a definite sign that the mobile payment may eventually enter the mainstream. With the decision to form a payment network, this conglomerate of big retailers has paved way for other companies to enter the lucrative mobile market.
What does this mean to you? It means that cash may be moving closer towards its last ebb before it becomes a precious antique. Although smartphones won’t completely replace cash in hurry but the future seems to point that way. You may do well to remember that the next time you reach out to pay for your purchase; you may in fact be looking for your smartphone and not your wallet.