The Wall Street Journal has revealed that a large group of big-name U.S. stores is planning its own entry into the burgeoning mobile payments market. The companies include Target, Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and Sunoco and the group will be called the Merchant Customer Exchange. It’s at an “early stage”, the WSJ thinks, and as yet has no CEO or definitive launch date, but it’s nevertheless a very serious move to try to reap profits from what is widely expected to become the next way to pay for things in stores–by smartphone.
The WSJ also notes this is a reaction to Google’s experimental mobile Wallet app, which is perhaps the highest profile attempt at enabling mobile pay systems yet. But mobile payments are growing outside the U.S. at a faster rate, and various groups are trying to seize control so that they can establish a big enough footprint to dominate the market–including efforts from Mastercard and Visa, which dominate the current card payment game.