Emerging mobile payment company hires Olson

DALLAS: Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a company just formed by major retailers to develop a mobile-payment network, has brought on Olson PR for pre-launch communications.

DALLAS: Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a company just formed by major retailers to develop a mobile-payment network, has brought on Olson PR for pre-launch communications.

MCX, which was created by corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, Target, and Sunoco, said Wednesday that it is developing a mobile payment application that will compete with similar services from Google and other companies.

Olson PR confirmed that it is working with MCX but declined to comment further. The company's PR outreach is focusing on b-to-b outlets but will expand to consumer-facing media when MCX releases its mobile app, a source told PRWeek on Wednesday.

Target and Best Buy, both founders of MCX, are Olson clients. The agency manages loyalty marketing for Best Buy and advertising and digital work for Target.

The development of MCX's mobile app is at an early stage, and the company has not specified a launch date. It is also searching for a chief executive and plans to announce additional member companies in coming months.

MCX's creation comes as more consumers use mobile payment systems, but the marketplace of such platforms becomes increasingly crowded.

Mobile payments will exceed $172 billion globally this year, a 61.9% increase from 2011, according to market research firm Gartner. That number is expected to reach $600 billion by 2016, the survey found.

However, a study conducted earlier this year by consulting firm Market Strategies International found 60% of consumers are concerned that mobile payment platforms could jeopardize their financial or personal security.

Meanwhile, Google began operating mobile payment system Google Wallet on its Android devices last year. And Starbucks said last week that it will invest $25 million in mobile payment startup Square, which will process the coffee chain's US debit and credit card transactions. Starbucks customers will be able to make purchases using Square's app this fall.

Isis, a joint venture by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile, will start trials of its mobile payment service later this month.

Olson PR, formerly known as Dig Communications, is AOR for companies such as MillerCoors and Wrigley. In December 2010, Dig was acquired by marketing agency Olson and renamed Olson PR. 

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