Mobile payments companies must present a more united front and prove themselves indispensable if they are to have a stronger relationship with operators, retailers and the public.

That’s the view of Adam Bialy, head of payment technology at supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, who believes those offering products – such as shops or ticket agents – are concerned they could potentially lose valuable customer data by encouraging the use of mobile wallets.

Speaking at a Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE) 2017 panel discussion in London, Bialy said payments companies are seen as a “threat” by retailers. He also added that wallets do not even offer greater convenience to consumers as contactless cards are faster.

“The value that is behind loyalty is held by retailers, the schemes and tech companies like Samsung are facilitators in that process, so it is important to distinguish what is actually generating value for that customer,” said Bialy, according to the Essential Retail website. “What the customer gets from the retailer is the funding of the loyalty scheme.

“The retailers’ perspective is that many people have joined the payments industry just because they want a piece of the data. Data on customer behaviour and what the customer is doing in the retail environment is the most prized possession any retailer has.”

Mobile payments can of course be deployed for ticket transactions as well as for purchases at venues, festivals and events.

Bialy called for an end to the confusion created by the fragmentation within the payments industry caused by the number of companies vying for market share.

He said: “Someone needs to take responsibility for the state of play in the payments industry right now and I think it is time the merchants consider this seriously and got together as a consortium.”