American retail giant Walmart has begun the rollout of its mobile payments service, introducing its Apple Pay rival to nearly 600 stores in Texas and Arkansas.
From this week customers visiting Walmart locations in the two states will be able to 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.
Daniel Eckert, SVP, services, Walmart US, says: "Walmart Pay is a powerful addition to our app, a tool that we’re using to transform the shopping experience by seamlessly connecting our online assets and our stores for customers."
First announced late last year, Walmart Pay sees the retailer take on the likes of Google, Apple and Samsung in an increasingly crowded mobile money market, although Eckert has previously stressed 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. But Walmart's go-it-alone strategy is forcing a rethink, with MCX announcing the loss of 30 jobs and the postponement of plans for a nationwide roll-out in favour of forging relationships with major banks.
MCX CEO Brian Mooneysays: “Utilising unique feedback from the marketplace and our Columbus pilot, MCX has made a decision to concentrate more heavily in the immediate term on other aspects of our business including working with financial institutions, like our partnership with Chase, to enable and scale mobile payment solutions. As part of this transition, MCX will postpone a nationwide rollout of its CurrentC application. As MCX has said many times, the mobile payments space is just beginning to take shape – it is early in a long game. MCX’s owner-members remain committed to our future."