Walmart Jumps Into Crowded Mobile Payment Market - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mobile // Mobile Applications
04:32 PM
Connect Directly

Walmart Jumps Into Crowded Mobile Payment Market

Walmart Pay debuts this month, joining the already-crowded mobile payment ranks that include Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and many others.

10 Great Tech Gifts For Under $100
10 Great Tech Gifts For Under $100
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

On Thursday Walmart said it plans to introduce its own mobile payment system, Walmart Pay, later this month, further complicating the nascent mobile payment market.

The company intends to start accepting Walmart Pay, which will be integrated into Walmart's existing mobile app, in stores near its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and then to make the service available early next year at its more than 4,600 stores in the US.

Walmart contends that being able to pay for goods through its mobile app can improve the checkout process. Unlike payment options tried to specific platforms, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, Walmart Pay works on both Android and iOS devices. For the time being, however, Walmart Pay only works in Walmart stores.

Like Android Pay, Walmart Pay aggregates other payment methods. Unlike Android Pay, Walmart's mobile payment system doesn't rely on NFC hardware. Customers simply scan a QR code bill through the Walmart app and Walmart Pay makes the payment through the desired credit, debit, prepaid, or Walmart gift card.

"The Walmart app was built to make shopping faster and easier," said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, in a statement.

(Image: Walmart)

(Image: Walmart)

Walmart claims 22 million customers per month use the Walmart app, which lets store visitors pick up online orders, refill pharmacy prescriptions, and find an item's location in the store. Some of them will presumably try Walmart Pay. However, that may not be enough to achieve critical mass. In May, Apple had an estimated 38 million Apple Pay-capable iPhone 6 or 6 Plus models in use in the US, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, and its mobile payment system been slow to take off.

When it was introduced last year, Apple Pay was expected to jump-start mobile payments in the US. But its growth has been modest. On a conference call for investors in October, Apple CEO Tim Cook said, "Apple Pay is seeing double-digit growth in transaction month after month …" However, the company has not broken mobile payment revenue out from its "Services" category, which saw 10% year-over-year growth in its fiscal Q4 2015. "Services" includes revenue from Internet Services, AppleCare, Apple Pay, licensing and other services.

Other mobile payment services, notably Google Wallet, have underperformed more dramatically. Google Wallet's travails led to the introduction of Android Pay in September and the repurposing of Google Wallet as a person-to-person cash transfer service.

Yet there's no shortage of competition. Beyond Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Walmart Pay, there's also Chase Pay, PayPal, Paydiant, Urban Airship, and Square, to name a few.

[Read Apple Pay, Samsung Pay Push Into More Markets.]

What's more, Walmart is part of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a group of retailers including Lowe's and Target that also has a payment app, CurrentC, for Android and iOS. It's unclear whether Walmart Pay will dampen the company's desire to participate in MCX.

It is also unclear whether mobile phone users want a payment mechanism beyond their credit and debit cards.

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 18, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 18, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2015 | 8:53:10 PM
Re: It Might Be Ok
While no mobile payment option has really taken off yet, I'm interesting in seeing how well Walmart Pay will do. The company has a lot of customers, and if it can find a way to get people to use the app to pay, there's going to be a lot of benefit for them. 

At the same time, there still hasn't been a real compelling reason for people to use these products. Yet. 
User Rank: Author
12/11/2015 | 1:30:34 PM

Sorry I don't see the compelling value proposition for introducing this app when it sounds like it can do what PayPal does universally. Companies need to realize apps take up space and require maintenance consumers do not want a tens of apps on their phones and tablets that take up space and require updates. You would need to be a very regular Walmart shopper to make this worth your time.

User Rank: Ninja
12/11/2015 | 10:30:26 AM
It Might Be Ok
Walmart may be able to make this work becuase so much if bought there -- people buy lots of stuff. SO, it might not be just another App, like ApplePay, etc
How to Create a Successful AI Program
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/14/2020
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Flash Poll