Target Corp. has demonstrated payments innovation in many ways, including participating in an early pilot of mobile payments with Starbucks, and driving its payments volume to lower-cost debit rails via its Red Card.

But apart from supporting Apple Pay in-app after the mobile wallet's launch, Target has lagged behind other major retailers including Walmart, Best Buy and Kohl’s when it comes to developing its own mobile wallet pulling its various payment options together.

Target will finally roll out its own mobile payments app this year, according to a Reuters report, but details so far are scant. However, Target could surpass its rivals by tying its app into the emerging payment services it already supports.

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News

What we know is that Target, along with Walmart, was an early backer of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which aimed to develop a barcode-based mobile payments app called CurrentC. Participating retailers wanted an app that could support a variety of payment types and give them more control over managing their own customer data for loyalty and deals. CurrentC fizzled out last year after millions of dollars were spend on its development.

But many MCX members plowed ahead to develop their own mobile payment apps. Walmart Pay rolled out last May using a barcode approach similar to what CurrentC had planned. MCX veterans Shell Oil and Phillips 66 last year announced they would participate in JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Chase Pay mobile wallet to extend mobile payments to customers.

Walmart also is participating with Chase Pay.

Target’s mobile wallet could theoretically do more than many existing wallets because of its existing payment innovations. Its mobile wallet would almost certainly include support for its popular Red Card, and it could tie in Bluetooth beacons, another technology Target has tested.

Target was not available to confirm the report.