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Commentary: Mobile Payment – Not Ready for Prime Time?

BY Bill Davis

I don’t make mobile payments yet. I don’t drink coffee, so I do not frequent Starbucks. However, I have been attempting to get up to speed on the state of the market. As I have a phone running Android, v5.1.1, that’s the best place for me to start, as that’s where my familiarity lies.

I have long used Google Wallet as a place to store my loyalty cards, but have never entered a credit card. I’m not sure why this is, as I was buying on the Internet in 1995 without encrypting my credit card. I was familiar with how the Internet works and knew that the risk of someone getting the packets that carried my credit card info was slim.

But I was still hesitant to add my credit card to my phone, even though security has improved significantly since the mid-90s. Maybe it’s because I have just crossed 50, but I still work in technology and mobile payment fascinates me, so I’m not sure why I haven’t ventured there yet. Maybe it has something to do with all the retail security breaches in 2014.

That being said, recently it seems Google decided to force my hand when they updated Google Wallet with Android Pay in September. One day I awoke to find that my familiar Google Wallet icon had disappeared and been replaced by Android Pay. All my loyalty cards that were stored in Google Wallet were moved to Android Pay, but I was initially not able to access them without entering a credit card.

The issue has since been resolved, and now I can open Android Pay and see my loyalty cards, rather than be required to enter a credit or debit card. I still have the option of adding a credit or debit card, but am resisting on principle.

So for me, the future of mobile payments is still very much in the future. Although my problem was resolved, it was still a terrible customer experience and one that suggests to me that ubiquitous mobile payments are still a ways off.



Bill Davis is innovation & transformation group domain consultant at Tata Consultancy Services.

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JCP names new CIO with Target background

BY Mike Troy

J.C. Penney’s efforts to become a world class omnichannel retailer are under the leadership of a new chief information officer with a unique background.

J. C. Penney appointed Therace Risch as executive vice president and chief information officer, effective immediately. Risch joins the retailer from COUNTRY Financial, and succeeds Scott Laverty.

"Therace is an outstanding IT professional with an extensive background of merging innovative retail technologies and powerful applications to drive both brick-and-mortar and online growth," said Marvin R. Ellison, CEO of J.C. Penney. "We are pleased to blend her 20 years of experience with the recently announced leaders of e-commerce and Supply Chain to offer a seamless omnichannel shopping experience across multiple customer touch points."

In her previous role as EVP and CIO at COUNTRY Financial, Risch was responsible for all aspects of consumer technologies to support the insurance and investment needs of over one million households and businesses. She was also responsible for all technology strategies and planning, as well as data security. Prior to COUNTRY Financial, Risch spent 10 years at Target Corporation in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility, including vice president of technology delivery services.

In a statement, J.C. Penney said Risch's appointment further reinforces the company's commitment to becoming a world-class omnichannel retailer, adding to a skilled team of industry leaders who recently joined the company including Michael Amend, executive vice president of e-commerce and omnichannel, and Mike Robbins, senior vice president of supply chain.

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Report: Target developing mobile wallet

BY Marianne Wilson

A week after Walmart announced it would launch a mobile payment solution, one of its chief rivals is reported to be working on the same.

Target Corp. is in the early stages of developing its own mobile wallet, according to Reuters, but it has not yet committed to launching the product.

Target is among the retailers testing CurrentC, the mobile payment solution developed by the retailer-backed consortium Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), and it is also looking into additional mobile wallets, said Target spokesperson Eddie Baeb. But declined to comment in the Reuters report on whether the retailer was developing its own mobile payments.

"Target is a participant of the MCX and we are testing its CurrentC mobile wallet with guests as part of a pilot in Columbus, Ohio," Baeb said.

To read more, click here.

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