... an enormous hacking of customer data at Target that was revealed five months ago has only intensified the pace of change in the way Americans pay for goods... Take Starbucks. There, customers can use their phone to pay for a latte or biscotti by loading money via the company's app onto a Starbucks rewards card. The app entices customers to return with free drinks, and it keeps the lines moving quickly, all of which is good for business.

It also saves Starbucks money, a spokeswoman said. Instead of paying for 10 cups of coffee individually, say at $1.75 each, customers can put $17.50 on their phone just once -- which means Starbucks has to pay only one transaction fee, not 10.

Several leading retailers, including Walmart, Target and Gap, have also banded together to form a group called the Merchant Customer Exchange, known as MCX, which aims to come up with a mobile payment system of its own. MCX would allow retailers to circumvent the credit card companies, tapping directly into customers' bank accounts. Retailers said they would also then retain control of their customer data, rather than having to share it as they might if customers paid with a service like Google Wallet.

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