By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Walmart Launches Walmart Pay, A Rival Mobile Payment Platform
Walmart has announced that it is launching a QR code mobile payment system called Walmart Pay to directly challenge Apple, Alphabet, and Samsung. The program, which went live in select U.S. stores on December 10, integrates the ability to pay via major credit card, debit card, or preloaded Walmart gift card into Walmart’s mobile app.
”The Walmart app was built to make shopping faster and easier,” said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce. “Walmart Pay is the latest example – and a powerful addition – of how we are transforming the shopping experience by seamlessly connecting online, mobile and stores for the 140 million customers who shop with us weekly.”
With 22 million customers actively using the Walmart app each month, Walmart Pay has great potential to challenge its competitors. But Walmart Pay, while rivaling other mobile payment solutions, will be unique in that it relies on QR codes to process transactions at the checkout terminal, according to Learn Bonds. When checking out, customers select Walmart Pay on the store’s app and then snap a picture of the QR code displayed by the terminal. The app then stores an electronic receipt. Users can also opt to activate Apple Touch ID for fingerprint enabled safety to heighten the security of their transactions.
The payment system was being piloted at the Bentonville, Arkansas area stores, where Walmart is based. The payment feature is scheduled to roll out to all of its more than 4,500 U.S. stores in the first half of 2016. The announcement marks the first retailer to launch its own smart phone-connected mobile payment system.
“The simplicity and ease of Walmart Pay comes not only from how it works, but also in how it’s been built,” said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president, services, Walmart U.S. “We made a strategic decision to design Walmart Pay to work with almost any smartphone and accept almost any payment type – even allowing for the integration of other mobile wallets in the future. The result is an innovation that will make the ease of mobile payments a reality for millions of Americans.”
Walmart is among the largest supporters of retail payments giant MCX. MCX is also behind mobile money platform CurrentC. Current C will be launched in 4,600 stores in the U.S. next year. There have been no plans on how Apple Pay will be integrated into the scene. Target, one of the founders of MCX’s CurrentC mobile payment effort, quietly began testing the system in some of its stores last Fall. Wal-Mart has confirmed that it will keep accepting CurrentC despite the launch of Walmart Pay, according to Lean Bonds. Apple Pay has been rejected by Walmart since its release, putting pressure on the development of an alternative system.
During a conference call, Eckert said Walmart is in talks with other mobile wallet developers, but did not name any specific companies, Reuters reported. "We are creating a seamless shopping experience that includes payment," Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Wal-Mart's global eCommerce, told reporters on a conference call. "It's fast. It's simple, and it's a secure way for customers to use their smartphone."
This is just the latest in a string of initiatives introduced by Walmart to increase its ecommerce share. "We are listening to the needs of the customer," said Eckert. "We are looking at innovating the checkout experience and using payment to do that."