Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday announced it was launching its own payment system as part of its mobile application — a solution the company said would speed checkout in stores while further connecting the retailer to its shoppers.
The application, available in select stores beginning this month with a nationwide rollout expected in the first half of next year, positions Walmart as the only U.S. retailer to offer a mobile payment solution that works with any device, and with any major credit card, debit card or Walmart gift card, the company said. Payment joins a host of additional capabilities on the app including existing features like virtual receipts, prescription renewals, store navigation, shopping lists and the “Savings Catcher,” which rewards shoppers the price difference of items found at a lower price at a competitor.
Adding payment “makes the app even more valuable for our customers and helps deepen our relationship with them,” Neil Ashe, CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, said in a presentation announcing the launch Thursday.
“Walmart Pay is not about improving payment just for payment’s sake,” added Daniel Eckert, SVP of services for Walmart. “It’s about how we can use payment to create a better shopping experience for our customers in our stores.”
Boosted in part by the recent introductions of pay applications by Apple, Google and Samsung, the value of mobile payments are expected to more than triple in the U.S. next year, according to the research firm eMarketer, and account for more than $210 billion in retail sales by 2019.
Walmart’s app is unique in part because unlike competing mobile wallets, it is not restricted to a particular phone or operating system Eckert said.
"We made a strategic decision to design Walmart Pay to work with almost any smartphone and accept almost any payment type — even allowing for the integration of other mobile wallets in the future," Eckert said. “The result is an innovation that will make the ease of mobile payments a reality for millions of Americans.”
Shoppers using the Walmart Pay application pay by scanning a code displayed at the register, with receipts delivered electronically. The innovation would support an ongoing effort by Walmart to improve front-end customer experience.
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