MCX Hailed as Wild Card in Mobile Wallet Race

NEW YORK -- Retailer consortium Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) and Apple are wild cards in the mobile wallet race, according to global investment banking firm Jefferies LLC, which held an electronic payments summit last week.

MCX, which counts convenience store chains 7-Eleven Inc., Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., Kum & Go LC and several other retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. among its members, hopes to dispense with credit card transaction fees and use an automated clearinghouse system designed by a coalition of banks, reported Investor's Business Daily.

"Consensus remained that retailers may be best positioned as the consumer-facing brand for the mobile wallet," stated Jefferies analyst Jason Kupferberg. "While panelists noted the significant challenges to the success of consortiums, citing Isis (the mobile payment consortium between AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile) as an example, they agreed that MCX may have a better chance than most to be successful."

The consensus among summit attendees was also that Apple's participation in the mobile wallet arena will be centered on developing a "killer wallet app that helps sell more high-margin hardware," while attempting to capitalize on potential advertising-related revenue similar to Google Wallet, instead of taking on Visa and MasterCard directly.

Credit card networks Visa and MasterCard, along with eBay's PayPal, are well-positioned for success in the mobile wallet race as well, according to Jefferies.

"Panelists believe that PayPal is likely in the best position among the existing open wallet offerings," stated Kupferberg.

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