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Alon, which operates more than 300 7-Eleven Inc. stores, as well as gasoline stations under its Fina brand, has joined forces with about two dozen other retailers -- including retail industry heavyweights Walmart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. -- to develop a better smartphone mobile payment system than those currently offered by Google Inc. and the soon-to-be-released solution from Isis, a joint venture between AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the identities of the other retailers involved in this project have not been released. However, Steve Mott, owner of BetterBuyDesign, a consulting firm working with the retailers, said the group has a combined annual revenue of $1.38 trillion and includes big-box stores, drugstores, vending companies and fast-food restaurants.
Target said in a statement that it was not ready to "share specific plans publicly" for the potential new mobile wallet. However, the retailing giant did confirm that it is "exploring potential solutions that would help us to deliver the fastest, most-secure mobile payment experience possible for our customers," the newspaper reported.
Although a competing mobile payment system seems like it would be a bad thing for the existing players in the space, Google and Isis executives told the news outlet that the retailers' venture could quicken the acceptance of mobile wallets and propel the fledgling industry.
"We think it's great that there are other companies innovating in the payments space," a Google spokesperson told the Journal. "This will create more choice for consumers, and in the end, we believe choice is a good thing."
PayPal, a division of eBay Inc., is another potential player in the mobile wallet race. The San Francisco-based company recently announced it was rolling out its version of a mobile wallet in Home Depot stores.