Walmart Launches Mobile Payment App
December 28, 2015
Walmart is launching a new mobile payment system that will allow customers to pay for their purchases using their smartphones while they are in the store. The app will be tied to the customer’s payment card. Walmart customers have to open up the Walmart Pay app on their smartphones, and then scan a barcode on the register screen during checkout. The register then sends a receipt to the customer’s smartphone. The payment gets handled by the payment card that’s linked to the app. The new mobile payment method will be available to customers in Arkansas now, and will be launched nationwide in 2016.
The Walmart Pay app works on both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating system. This mobile payment method competes with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and MCX’s CurrentC app. MCX, which was launced in 2012, will be particularly affected by the new Walmart Pay app. Walmart was one of the retailers participating in the MCX mobile payment system before the launch of Walmart Pay.
Mobile payments through smartphones at retailers are expected to increase to $118 billion by 2018. Last year, customers used their smartphones to make $3.5 in mobile payments at retailers. However, both Apple and Google have struggled to get shoppers to switch over entirely to using their smartphones to complete transactions. This past Black Friday, shoppers used Apple Pay in only 2.7% of eligible transactions, and instead preferred to use their credit cards or cash.
Walmart’s new mobile payment system mimics the system Starbucks introduced back in 2011 with their app. The Starbucks mobile payment app initially let customers make payments and store their Starbucks gift cards. Now customers can store their credit cards in the Starbucks app and scan their smartphones at the register to pay for their coffee. The coffee chain says that of the 9 million weekly transactions conducted in their stores, 20% come from payments via smartphones.
Retailers are trying to make payments easier and faster for shoppers. With mobile payments, customers won’t have to wait in long lines before paying for their purchases. Retail employees won’t have to spend time helping customers pay for their purchases at a register. Instead, they can be on the floor helping customers find what they need. Walmart hasn’t integrated a loyalty rewards program into its app because it would cause too many issues. Retail employees can use their time on the floor to help customers sign up for loyalty programs and store credit cards. Employees can easily enroll customers into a rewards program with a card scanner. Instead of filling out forms to sign up for a rewards program or credit card, a card scanner can instantly gather relevant information from a customer’s driver’s license. The card scanner can also verify the identity of the customer, so retailers will know that a fraudulent account isn’t being opened up in their store. As mobile payments become more popular with consumers, retailers should invest in card scanning technology to get customers to sign up for loyalty rewards programs and store credit cards.