Walmart has recently begun to roll out Walmart Pay, its new mobile payment solution. The announcement of the new technology makes Walmart the only retailer with its own payment solution that works with both Android and iOS through their mobile app. Customers can use Walmart Pay at any checkout lane, with any major credit, debit, or gift card.
According to a press release about the launch, 22 million customers use the Walmart app each month. “The Walmart app was built to make shopping faster and easier,” said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce. “Walmert 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.”
Walmart Pay has just been announced, but the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer has been involved in the mobile payment space for several years. In 2012, Walmart joined a consortium of other U.S. retail companies (including 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS Health and more) to develop a merchant-owned digital wallet solution called CurrentC. The consortium, also known as the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), built the CurrentC system to compete with Apple Pay (and the Google equivalent, Android Pay). At present, CurrentC is undergoing pilot testing in limited markets.
Walmart Pay uses the same technology behind the MCX product, which means it is similar to Apple Pay and Android Pay in the way it is used at the point of sale, but it is proprietary to a single merchant and offers a handful of additional features. For example, the system will send an itemized receipt of your purchases to your smartphone after your transaction—something Apple Pay does not do.
Brian Roemmele, a mobile payments expert, told Forbes that Walmart Pay may pose a serious threat to MCX and CurrentC when it comes to the future of retail mobile payments. “MCX was conceived to allow like-minded merchants to create an alternative and less costly payment system,” he said. “It began to erode as Apple Pay began to appear inevitable. With the release of Walmart Pay, it is clear that MCX and CurrentC will likely either not be released or be lost in the noise of other proprietary systems.”
Walmart Pay is expected to be available nationwide by mid-2016.