Merchant acquirers and tech companies are collaborating on mobile payments issues in a new group formed by the Electronic Transactions Association, the Washington-based trade group announced Thursday.

The new Mobile Payments Committee expects to tackle policy, interoperability, technical issues, and education of merchants and consumers, Jason Oxman, the association's CEO, says.

"The overarching goal is to ensure the success of mobile payments," Oxman says.

About 20 companies representing a broad cross section of the industry have signed on as members of the committee, he says, noting that membership could increase.

Google Inc. and all four major U.S. carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless – belong to the committee, Oxman says.

"These are fierce marketplace competitors that recognize the importance of coming together as an industry to promote mobile payments," he says.

Those and some other tech companies recently joined the association, which until now drew its membership chiefly from independent sales organizations, transaction processors and merchant acquirers.

The association has pursued tech companies as members since Oxman joined the group about three months ago. The group's board set the strategy, he notes.

Adding the tech companies to the roster should increase networking opportunities for the group's established acquiring-industry members and keep the association at the forefront of technological innovation, Oxman says.

With both those goals in mind, the new committee plans to stage its initial meeting via conference call before the end of the month and will then meet monthly, he says.

Jackie Moran, Verizon's executive director of federal relations, will chair the committee. She said in a press release that the committee has the potential to shape the fledgling mobile-payments scene.

"The Mobile Payments Committee is designed to ensure that the early stages of mobile payments are handled in the best possible way – with insight and ingenuity from all the players," Moran said in the release.

Other companies participating in the committee include Isis, Wells Fargo, Capital One, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, VeriFone, Intuit, First Data, Panasonic and Neustar, the association says.

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