Walmart launches mobile payments service

Walmart launches mobile payments service

With no sign of a full-scale MCX launch in sight, Walmart, a leading member of the retailer-owned mobile payments venture, has taken matters into its own hands by adding a QR code-based payments feature to its app.

Walmart Pay will let customers add any major credit, debit, prepaid or Walmart gift card to the retailer's mobile app and then scan a QR code at checkout with their iPhone or Android cameras to pay.

The new feature works in a select number of stores this week and will go nationwide in the first half of next year, making it available to the 22 million people who use the Walmart app each month.

The launch sees Walmart take on the likes of Google, Apple and Samsung in an increasingly crowded mobile money market, although Daniel Eckert, SVP, services, Walmart US stresses that integration with these rival wallets could be on the cards.

Walmart has been one of the driving forces behind MCX, a QR code-based mobile wallet joint venture with other retail giants such as Target, CVS and 7-Eleven that hoped to bypass credit cards, reducing fees. However, years after being announced, MCX has still to launch and has seen powerful rivals such as Apple and Google hit the market.

Nevertheless, Neil Ashe, president and CEO, Walmart Global eCommerce told the New York Times that firm is still backing MCX despite refusing to say when its CurrentC app will launch.

Says Ashe: "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."

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 10 December, 2015, 21:39Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I'm not convinced that the user experience with QR will win long term and if I've got one phone and many retailers in my daily life, I think Walmart will need to add some compelling value adds to beat the device and OS solutions and (in the Android world) also the bank wallets.

This looks like pretty bad news for MCX though..

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 11 December, 2015, 10:441 like 1 like

Just two years ago, everyone thought Starbucks was the best mobile wallet around. It used QR code. While the superior CX of NFC-based Apple Pay can't be denied, the intersection of owners of highend smartphones with NFC support and frequent WalMart shoppers is probably so small that WalMart chose to go with QR code.

Paul Love
Paul Love - Konsentus - Nottingham 11 December, 2015, 13:28Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I am sure Walmart did a lot of consumer testing before deciding to launch with this QR code based approach.

The benefit it brings to Walmart is that it can run on almost all existing smartphones, independant of brand or carrier, and does not an upgrade to the latest device. The app also puts Walmart in control of their own UX rather than Apple, Samsung or Google.

As a side benefit, QR codes are also much cheaper and easier to deploy than payment terminals, and the consumer effectively brings their own payment device. 

Karl Cherry
Karl Cherry - CheckAlt - Pittsburgh 11 December, 2015, 13:591 like 1 like

Obviously Wal-Mart wants consumer adoption (to Paul’s comment) and to encourage consumer spend.  Along with other recent announcements it does look like we are moving to more reciprocity and for the consumer to be able to choose their favorite tenders—and if WalMart accepts MC and VISA, can the rest of MCX be far behind?  QR and BLE are going to gain traction with more than half of consumers not using an iPhone with a proprietary antenna.  Will 2016 finally be the year of the mobile wallet?