All 4,500 Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. will offer its new mobile payments system Walmart Pay within a few weeks.
Walmart Pay is a button in the retailer’s app that allows consumers to check out in a store using their smartphone, instead of with cash or a card. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., No. 4 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, announced in December it would roll out this app feature to all of its stores by the end of the summer. Currently, 1,000 stores have updated their point-of-sale software to integrate this feature, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman says.
A consumer signs up for Walmart Pay in app by saving a digital payment method, such as a credit or debit card, an e-gift card or prepaid card, and a PIN number or fingerprint touch ID to verify her identity.
At checkout, a consumer opens the Walmart app and presses the Walmart Pay button, which launches her smartphone’s camera. The checkout terminal displays a QR code that the consumer scans with her smartphone. The shopper then verifies her identity by entering her PIN or placing her finger on the screen to activate the touch ID authentication feature. The cashier will then see a prompt that reads Walmart Pay that she will hit. Once the cashier taps the button, the transaction goes through and the customer receives her receipt in the app.
Shoppers have to be in the app’s in-store mode for the pay button to appear, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman says. Since all of the stores are geofenced, that is, equipped with technology that identifies when a consumer’s smartphone is near the store, the app knows when a shopper is at a Wal-Mart store and the in-store mode should automatically turn on, she says. She would not disclose how long a transaction using Walmart Pay takes.
Despite all the steps required to use the mobile payment system, Walmart Pay is a time saver for shoppers, the spokeswoman says. While it may not be faster than swiping a credit card, Walmart Pay does offer time savings outside of the transaction, she says. For example, once a customer receives her digital receipt the app will prompt her to submit it to Savings Catcher by tapping a button. Savings Catcher is Wal-Mart’s tool that guarantees shoppers a refund of the difference is a nearby competitor offers items they’ve bought at a lower price. A shopper scans her store receipt with her smartphone to activate the feature, and Wal-Mart provides rebates on a gift card. With Walmart Pay, the shopper can skip manually scanning her receipt.
The retailer is not offering any incentives, such as a coupon, discount or give-away, for using Walmart Pay, the spokeswoman says.
Walmart Pay is available on both the retailer’s Android and iOS app. The apps have more than 20 million downloads and more than 140 million Americans shop at a Wal-Mart store each week, the spokeswoman says.
“We are making mobile payments a reality for so many customers because it’s not dependent on a certain payment method or a certain device,” the spokeswoman says. She would not disclose how much Wal-Mart invested in the app.
Previously, Wal-Mart backed an in-development mobile wallet called CurrentC. Merchant Customer Exchange, a consortium of retailers including Target Corp., was the organization behind CurrentC. Last week, MCX announced that it would halt development of CurrentC, a move that is widely believed to stem from growing competition from mobile payment systems promoted by such technology heavyweights as Apple, Google and Samsung.