Two dozen retailers, including Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are developing a mobile payment platform, the Wall Street Journal reports (paid subscription).
According to the WSJ, sources say merchants "are not satisfied with the mobile-payments products that have been launched so far, which limit the merchants to providing personalized offers and coupons." The sources also mentioned the issue of security and malicious applications in Android.
Steve Mott, a consultant who is working on the new project, says some of the merchants think they can build a better mobile payment system than those already available. He also says merchants are better equipped to design systems for their own customers.
Though the article is sparse on details, any new mobile payment system would compete against systems such as Isis and Google Wallet.
I'm willing to accept that some retailers honestly believe the mobile payment systems already available aren't sufficiently secure or do not offer the right mix of features. But I also think this isn't so much about helping customers as helping the merchants.
I think the merchants involved in this project are concerned that Google and the cellular operators could establish too close a relationship with consumers and control access to customer data. I think this is about merchants wanting more control over customers and believing they can generate more revenue with their own mobile payment venture.
As I've said in previous blogs, this year will be a time of confusion for mobile payment participants, as well as consumers in the United States. And even though participants proclaim how valuable these systems will be for consumers, they're mostly about sucking up customer data and making more money.
Suggestions or questions about my Weblog? Email me: email@example.com