Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS), 7-Eleven Inc., Sunoco Inc. (NYSE: SUN) and other well-known retailers are expected to announce that they have banded together to develop a mobile payments network that would rival similar services from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and other companies, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The network will be called the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX. It is unclear how much money each participating merchant will contribute to the network’s development, and no launch date has been set.
Few shoppers currently use their smartphones as mobile-payment devices, but industry experts expect that to change. Mobile-payment transactions are estimated to rise to $600 billion worldwide by 2016, compared to $172 billion this year, according to market research firm Gartner Inc.
And so financial institutions and technology firms are spending billions of dollars to develop what are sometimes called digital wallets. Google Wallet began operating last year on the technology company’s Android devices. Isis, a collaboration of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile USA Inc. and the Verizon Wireless, will start trials later this summer.
Other merchants that have signed onto the MCX venture include Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Lowe’s Companies (NYSE: LOW), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A), Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) and Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI).