Mobile payments have barely started but are already swamped with competition

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Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to pay for purchases.

An ever increasing number of merchants and consumers alike are experimenting with different ways to pay for items that include mobile payments among the available options.

A wide range of new options are beginning to open up at restaurants, bars, and shops of all kinds.

Even though the mobile payments industry is still in the earliest part of its fledgling stage, the growth of its adoption is rapid, which is leading to notable competition among providers of these services.

New mobile payments partnerships and strategies are being announced regularly in mcommerce news.

Earlier this month, headlines shared that Square Inc. had partnered up with Starbucks so that all of the coffee shop locations would feature Square registers. PayPal Here announced even more recently that it was partnered with McDonald’s for a trial of their mobile payments services at dozens of the fast food restaurant locations in France.

Even major retailers are getting into the mobile payments game, to try to take their own piece of the pie. For example, a host of major retailers, including Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart, have come together to form the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which will create its own system that will allow consumers to buy products and pay for them using their smartphones.

Square, PayPal, and MCX are large players but aren’t nearly the extent of the mobile payments marketplace, as many other large companies and partnerships have also started to make their marks. These include Google Wallet, Isis, Intuit, and LevelUp. Each of these has joined the race to become the new and most important digital wallet.

While some seem to be setting themselves along a more standard path, others are opting to break away and use more unconventional techniques. LevelUp, for example, has chosen to use QR code scans to allow consumers to complete their transactions. Others are simply trying to function in a similar way to traditional credit cards, but to offer their services at lower costs in order to give themselves greater appeal; a feature that is especially appealing to small businesses.

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