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Retail alliance to create mobile pay app

A group of retailers, Target among them, have

A group of retailers, Target among them, have banded together to create an new mobile app for paying. These carts are at a store in Chicago. (July 5, 2012) Credit: AP

A bevy of big-name retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Best-Buy Co. and Target Corp., are teaming up to create a company that will give customers another way to make purchases with their mobile devices.

The businesses said Wednesday that the new company, Merchant Customer Exchange, is developing a mobile application that will be available for nearly any smartphone. The app is expected to integrate a variety of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs.

The new system takes aim at Google's Wallet payment app and other efforts aimed at moving payment cards from wallets to smartphones.

Wal-Mart corporate vice president Mike Cook said in a statement that using a mobile app will help to cut down costs and make shopping faster and more convenient.

Best Buy president of financial services Mark Williams said, "As merchants, no one understands our customers' shopping and payment experience better than we do, and we're confident that together we can develop a technology solution that makes that experience more engaging, convenient and efficient."

Other retailers included in Merchant Customer Exchange are 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, CVS / pharmacy, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe's Cos., Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, and Sunoco.

The initial retailers that are part of the new company account for about $1 trillion in annual sales. More retailers are expected to be announced as new members in the coming months, the group said.

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