Wawa, QuikTrip Sign On to MCX Mobile Wallet Venture

Join 7-Eleven, Alon, Shell, Sunoco, Sheetz as convenience industry members

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

NEW YORK -- Wawa Inc. and QuikTrip Corp. have joined the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) mobile wallet initiative, the companies announced at the National Retail Federation's 2013 Convention & Expo (Retail's Big Show) this past week in New York City.

Top U.S. convenience retailers including 7-Eleven, Alon, Shell and Sunoco teamed up with Walmart, Target and CVS last year on the issue of mobile payment, creating a venture charged with developing a single platform.

Wawa and QuikTrip did not respond to request for comments by press time.

"The initial MCX solution will be primarily barcode- and cloud-based, which will allow it to work on the broadest array of smartphones and at a wide range of merchant locations, where barcode payments can be accepted without major new capital expenses," Jeremy Mullman, spokesperson for MCX, told CSP Daily News.

"MCX continues to see strong interest from new merchants. Since the October announcement that the likes of Bed Bath & Beyond, Dunkin' Brands and Dillard's [as well as Sheetz] joined, we've welcomed a number of new companies to the fold, including specialty retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Hobby Lobby, and several regional convenience store groups, including Wawa and QuikTrip," he said.

MCX's merchant owners now include seven of the 14 largest merchants by sales, and 19 of the top 100, according to the NRF's STORES magazine ranking, process more than $1 trillion in payments annually and operate more than 75,000 stores, he added.

At the event, several of the MCX stakeholders--including Wawa's treasurer, Jay Culotta--offered a look at the thinking behind the development of this jointly owned mobile-payment company and some of the solutions, from both the customer and the merchant perspectives, that they are trying to provide, according to NRF blog.

One of MCX's top goals is to provide a superior customer experience. Checking out using MCX's app shouldn't be a stressful experience for consumers, and it ought to enhance their experiences in stores. It also allows customers to use the same mobile application at every one of MCX's partner retailers.

Another one of the company's goals is robust security, the blog said. That means using barcode technology, cloud services and account tokenization that secures customers' mobile transactions. It also means choosing accessible technology. MCX's mobile application will be available for use on almost every type of smartphone, and, because customers will be able to use the app at so many types of retailers, there won't be the need for customers to have a smartphone with a certain type of chip or update.

Wawa, based in Wawa, Pa., is a chain of more than 600 convenience retail stores (300 offering gasoline) located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and Florida.

Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip operates nearly 650 convenience stores with gasoline in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.