BONUS CONTENT: Mobile Wallets Top Retailer Talk

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- The mobile wallet was one of the most discussed topics during this year’s Convenience Store News CIO/Tech Summit, with the retailers in attendance agreeing that the cell phone has become a ubiquitous part of the American consumer’s life.

“A mobile app offering a way for a consumer to pay for his or her purchases through an ACH [automated clearing house] payment would be ideal,” one retailer noted.

At the moment, though, attendees said there are too many competing mobile payment platforms fighting to gain control of this promising market. Among them: Isis, PayPal, Square, Google, Level Up and Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX).

Who will win the mobile wallet battle was up for debate, with some saying the technology is still too young to support a significant purchase.

“We feel it’s important to stay alert to what’s going on, but it’s too early to be making any decisions on what technology platform is going to be best for us,” Ed Collupy, vice president of retail IT and POS systems at Cary, N.C.-based The Pantry Inc., commented during the event.

Summit representatives from Alon Brands and QuikTrip Corp., founding members of MCX, both pointed out that the key to their decision to join MCX -- along with a host of other major retailers like Walmart and fellow c-store heavy hitters 7-Eleven Inc., Wawa Inc. and Sheetz Inc. -- is the opportunity to have a voice in the creation of an application that will include features and functionality important to merchants.

As the future of the mobile wallet shakes out, retailers agreed that it has to be more than simply just another way of paying for goods.

“Are we just shifting customer payments from cards to cell phones?” one executive posed.

For full coverage of the Convenience Store News CIO/Tech Summit, look in the September issue of Convenience Store News.

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