Rumor is MCX is going with a “Starbucks model” QR code payment mechanism. Gemalto is rumored to have won the wallet (… arghh why another one?).
There are many Merchant benefits to this approach, primarily it skips the entire bank owned payment network as QR codes are read directly by the ECR (IBM, Micros, Aloha, NCR, ..) with minimal hardware changes. MCX members with Loyalty cards (ex CVS) would be able to skip the phone based wallet and leverage common MCX infrastructure (cloud) to enable payment on loyalty cards.
Fraud infrastructure will be critical to the success of this approach. Retailers have tremendous historical data for loyalty card customers… but they really don’t know who their customers are. Banks are certainly able to help solve this fraud, identity and reputation problem. MNOs may also be able to add value here IF they move quickly (example Payfone would be perfect here).
Another story I heard was the Starbucks was a founding member of MCX, but then left. If this QR code approach is accurate, their departure makes sense.. as they are the team that paved the way for the success of this approach. Why would they throw their technology and standards away for something exactly the same?
The payment mechanics of all this certainly look good. However what will be the consumer value proposition? I hope this QR code can be ported to other wallets (let the customer decide).