The biggest players in mobile payments have agreed to sit down together, every month, to discuss how they will shape the future of mobile payments. During a time when consumers are introduced to various methods of mobile payments, the gathering of the top industry participants could pave the way for rapid adoption.

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Formed by the Electronic Transaction Association, the Mobile Payments Committee includes AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Google, Isis, Capital One, American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, VeriFone, Intuit, First Data and other companies.

“Our industry must work collaboratively to ensure that the regulatory and business environment promotes innovation and cooperation,” said ETA CEO Jason Oxman in the announcement of the committee’s formation.

The Mobile Payments Committee is charged with the responsibility of achieving network interoperability among merchants, card issuers, financial institutions, mobile networks, equipment operators and equipment manufacturers. It will also have to discuss the best ways to provide access of the latest mobile payment technologies to merchants and consumers.

The committee will seek to educate merchants, consumers, policymakers and regulators to ensure a mobile payments experience that is efficient, reliable and secure.

Monthly meetings will be held starting this month.

Getting on the same track

The creation of the Mobile Payments Committee is expected to address what is currently a fragmented industry. Each mobile-payments player has its own project with its own approach to “mobile” payments.

Google Wallet uses near field communications technology, enabled through a chip on certain smartphones, to make point-of-sale purchases. Meanwhile, PayPal lets consumers enter their phone numbers on a payment terminal. Most recently, a partnership  between Square and Starbucks allows customers to open a “tab” and pay through a mobile application.

The plethora of options offered to consumers may pose hurdles to adoption of any single mobile-payment method. Some consumers find that multiple payment options are a hassle to manage — often resorting to the traditional methods of cash, debit card or credit card.

Merchants face a similar issue when they don’t know which type of mobile payments their customers prefer, which translates to not knowing which type of mobile payments they should accept. The problem can be reversed to affect consumers, who won’t use a certain mobile-payment method if their favorite merchants don’t accept it.

Getting market participants on the same page would provide a unified vision for not just mobile payments industry but also the retail industry, which in turn will build the foundation for consumer adoption.

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