Wal-Mart Standing Strong Behind MCX

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

During a panel discussion at this week’s RAMP Mobile Retail Conference, Wal-Mart’s Mike Cook was clear the company is giving the thumbs down to Google Wallet and any other mobile strategy he believes contains the same flaws in traditional payment networks.

Right now, it’s all about building a better mouse trap through the Merchant Customer Exchange in a way the merchants involved believe solves for inherent issues like cost of acceptance and fraud. A main friction point, however, that remains is data. Specifically, the data about consumer purchases and buying habits that is going to be used for fuel to drive future strategies based on mobile and virtual products.

From a Mobile Payments Today article:

Cook added that Walmart is also not interested in sharing consumer and transaction data with additional partners. “Many of the models out there today are just adding another mouth to feed,” he said.

Cook talked about the product constructs that resonant for his company, and one presumes, for those participating in the MCX initiative:

In the session, Cook explained that Walmart sees three types of mobile payment applications: a “slick application” that applies to a single use case, an application that layers onto the existing payment structure, and a “holistic solution” that not only provides interaction, but also solves for multiple use cases. According to Cook, Walmart is only interested in this holistic approach.

This is a high-stakes game that has the potential to pose a real threat to the card networks if MCX is designed to drive more transaction activity to private label payment types. As we’ve considered in other posts on this topic, it’s possible the networks will have to buy-in to MCX in order to participate as a network member, which puts companies like Wal-Mart in control. More control is what merchants have been striving for since the first lawsuits against the networks were filed in the late 1990’s. Their persistence may pay off.

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