Slideshow The MCX Merchant Mobile Wallet's First Year

  • July 26 2013, 3:00pm EDT
8 Images Total

Merchant Customer Exchange, a mobile wallet initiative that involves more than 50 retailers, is coming into focus. Though the one-year-old MCX has yet to release a product, it has attracted key people and partnerships that demonstrate to the payments industry that it is a serious contender. (Images: Bloomberg News, Wawa)

Bank-Industry Cred

MCX's new CEO, Dekkers Davidson, has been described as a "rock star of mobile payments." He was previously head of mobile commerce at BarclayCard US, which worked with the Isis and Google mobile wallets. (Image: Bloomberg News)

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Picking Its Partners

MCX has deals in place with well-known bank vendors FIS and Gemalto. In tapping the expertise of these companies, "we're not building from scratch — we're utilizing the power of an existing provider," MCX exec Dodd Roberts says. (Image: ThinkStock)

Merchants in Charge

MCX is not forcing its members to adopt a standalone app. "One key feature of what MCX is developing is the flexibility for its solution to work inside a merchant's mobile application," says MCX spokesman Jeremy Mullman. (Image: CVS/Pharmacy)

Sticking to Software

Some mobile wallets work only with phones that have Near Field Communication chips for contactless payments. MCX instead chose a software-based approach that allows merchants to scan bar codes from the phone's screen. "Bar code is a technology that any smartphone and that most merchants can handle today," says MCX exec Dodd Roberts. (Image: ThinkStock)

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Data in Demand

MCX designed its system to keep merchants in control of payments data. "We can't lose that customer relationship, because research shows that customers want the retailer to know who they are when they walk in the door at a store," says Stephanie Swain, senior director of financial services for Best Buy, an MCX merchant. (Image: ThinkStock)

Networks Take Notice

Though MCX has yet to release a product, its rivals are watching its every move. Visa CEO Charlie Scharf faced questions about MCX during the company's July 24 earnings call. "We know what you know [about MCX], in fact you may know more. Our view is that we will learn as [MCX] continues to disclose what they are doing," Scharf says. (Image: Bloomberg News)

Deep History

The MCX initiative may be older than it lets on. Though the company announced itself in August 2012, its existence had been rumored for months, and at its launch MCX already had the participation of key retailers such as 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, Best Buy, CVS, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe’s, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, Sunoco, Target and Walmart. (Image: ShutterStock)