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Big retailers are muscling in on the likes of Visa, MasterCard and Google in a fiercely competitive and growing mobile payment market that promises to cut transaction costs and increase customer loyalty.The global market for mobile payments is forecast to grow about threefold by 2017 to some $721 billion worth of transactions, with more than 450 million users, according to research firm Gartner.However, it is still unclear how the retail mobile payment market will develop, with card companies and banks seen retaining a leading role in processing payments even if physical cards become obsolete.An alternative path is also being explored in the United States, where dozens of top retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy have announced plans to set up a joint digital wallet service -- the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX -- though no launch date has been set.UK retailers could have saved 463 million pounds ($770 million) in transaction costs in 2013 by shifting to mobile payments from cash, credit and charge cards, it estimates.However Carrefour, the world's second biggest retailer after Wal-Mart, thinks shoppers need more time to be convinced.
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