If you're one who often forgets your wallet at home, you're in luck: Your smartphone is increasingly becoming an acceptable means of payment.
Welcome to the mobile wallet era.
Billions of dollars are flowing into the development of mobile-payments systems that function as so called "digital wallets." Businesses across the board are confident that consumers will soon be as comfortable making purchases with their phones as they currently are when paying by credit or debit cards.
Now a group of U.S. retailers on Wednesday embraced the growing trend in mobile wallet technology. They want to get a jumpstart on the new way of paying for everything from a Slurpee to a tank of gas to major appliances.
The dozen plus big retailers have formed a new company called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) and will create their very own mobile wallet application. The companies include Best Buy Co Inc. (NYSE: BBY), 7-Eleven, Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A, RDS.B), CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE: CVS), and Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI), among others. More retailers are expected to join in the coming months.
MCX intends to cash in on the broad reach of the collaborating businesses', which together take in some $1 trillion in annual sales and serve nearly every smartphone user in the United States.
In addition to eliminating the need for cash, the MCX platform will offer promotions, retail programs and customized offers.
It is unusual to see such a partnership among direct competitors, but these merchants recognize they need each to establish a presence in the mobile tech industry.