MCX Announcement Highlights Growing U.S. Interest in NFC-Based Mobile Payments

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The announcement today that more than a dozen retailers have announced plans to create a mobile-payments system called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) highlights the growing interest in near-field communications (NFC)-based mobile payment solutions in the United States, a field in which the United States has trailed several Asian countries. The competition this will create with Isis—a mobile-payments solution being developed by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon—Google Wallet, Square, and others will drive innovation and growth in the nascent industry while encouraging competitors to develop solutions delivering maximum value for consumers.

However, as ITIF notes in Explaining International Leadership in Contactless Mobile Payments, it remains important for policymakers to support the development of interoperable NFC standards so that these solutions can work across a wide array of mobile devices and point of sale systems. Moreover, any successful mobile wallet system should be able to do more than simply handle payments; it should be fully functional, storing identification/authentication credentials and/or key codes, thus enabling customers to check into hotels, movie theaters, schools, gyms, etc. using their mobile device.

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About the author

Stephen Ezell is the Vice President of Global Innovation Policy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), with a focus on innovation policy, international information technology competitiveness, trade, and manufacturing and services issues. He is the co-author with Dr. Atkinson of "Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage" (Yale, 2012). Mr. Ezell comes to ITIF from Peer Insight, an innovation research and consulting firm he co-founded in 2003 to study the practice of innovation in service industries. At Peer Insight, Mr. Ezell co-founded the Global Service Innovation Consortium, published multiple research papers on service innovation, and researched national service innovation policies being implemented by governments worldwide.