Walmart announced this week that it will soon enter the mobile payments business with its own branded service called Walmart Pay – in direct competition with Apple, Alphabet (Google) and Samsung, amongst others.
Walmart Pay goes live on Thursday
The new system will go live in some stores on Thursday. The system is already built into the company’s mobile app and provides smartphone owners the ability to pay via credit card, debit card, or the store’s own gift cards.
But unlike Apple Pay and competing systems, it uses QR codes for point-of-sale terminal payment. When checking out, customers select Walmart Pay from the app and then take a picture of a QR code on the store’s terminal to connect. An e-receipt is then kept in the app. Users can also use Touch ID on the iPhone for additional security.
“The simplicity and ease of Walmart Pay comes not only from how it works, but also in how it’s been built,” said Walmart VP of services Daniel Eckert .“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 has more than 22 million active users on iOS and Android apps every month, the company says. Eckert also said that Walmart is talking with other mobile wallet companies, but didn’t name any in particular according to Reuters.
Walmart however is a backer of retail group MCX, who are behind mobile payments system CurrentC – currently in beta testing. MCX retailers once rejected Apple Pay when it launched in 2014, but some of those in the consortium since adopted it – Best Buy being one of the notable break-away members.
The retail giant says it will continue accepting CurrentC payments, as well as Walmart Pay when it rolls out fully to 4,600 US stores next year. There are currently no plans to adopt Apple Pay.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.