Walmart’s (NYSE: WMT) answer to Apple Pay is now available in 4,600 stores nationwide according to a July 6, 2016 press release from the company. This is apparently in addition to the 19 states and the nation’s capital, Mac Rumors reported earlier.
Walmart Pay is now available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode, Island, Vermont, Washington State, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas and the District of Columbia, Mac Rumors reported.
This makes Walmart Pay one of the fastest growing payment apps; it launched in May with just two states, and is now available in several of the nation’s largest markets. Some more details about Walmart Pay are also available.
Including these stats released by Walmart on July 6:
- Walmart Pay has 20 million users a press release from the retailer indicates.
- The number of Walmart Pay transactions is growing fast, increasing by 45% the week before July 6.
- Customers like the App, Walmart estimates that 82% of transactions were repeat business from existing Walmart Pay users.
Walmart Pay = Big Savings (for Walmart)
Walmart Pay is based on a QR code system. That means you activate it by opening the Walmart App; selecting pay, activating the camera, scanning a code on the register, and wait for the cashier to bag your items. An electronic receipt is automatically recorded on your app.
That sounds like it could be big savings for Walmart by reducing the amount of work cashiers will do. Simply eliminating register receipts would save Walmart several million dollars a year.
More importantly it looks as if Walmart Pay could be easily integrated with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. That would provide an enhanced layer of security, and even greater savings by getting rid of even more layers of administration and accounting.
Walmart has launched a major push to streamline operations and reduce paperwork. Last month, the retailer announced plans to eliminate hundreds of clerical jobs at its US stores. The positions include associates who count cash and process invoices. The work will now be done by automated solutions, including cash recycling machines and centralized invoicing.
Under current plans the retail giant hopes to have Walmart Pay up and running in 5,000 stores in 37 states by the end of 2016. If that succeeds, Walmart would become one of the largest players in wireless payment technology. It would also put pressure on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to switch Apple Pay to QR code technology from wireless NFC.
A truly interesting development would be if other retailers like Kroger (NYSE: KR), or filling station operators would start taking Walmart Pay. That would transform into a financial services company as well as a retailer. Walmart is already in the money transfer and some financial services businesses.
Another intriguing development would be if Walmart would purchase another payment processor such as Square (NYSE: SQ) or even PayPal. The retail goliath certainly has the money to do that if it wants.
Mac Rumors did not say when; or if, Walmart plans to roll the app out in other nations it operates in such as the United Kingdom and Canada. Nor did Mac Rumors say if Walmart Pay would be available at Sam’s Club, which Walmart owns.
Target Plans own Digital Wallet
Target (NYSE: TGT) is planning its own digital wallet, using the same QR code technology as Walmart Pay and Chase Pay. There is no word on when Target’s solution will be available.
There are some major limitations to Walmart Pay, including the fact that it currently does not work directly off of bank accounts like Apple Pay or Android Pay. That may not be much of a drawback because Walmart pay does work with major credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, and Walmart gift cards. Since Walmart currently accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express in its stores, Walmart Pay will presumably any card with those companies brands.
One reason why banks may not matter is that many of Walmart’s working class customers do not use bank accounts. Instead they rely upon prepaid cards or loadable credit cards which will work with Walmart Pay. Another is that most of Walmart’s customers presumably have credit cards. Persons with bank accounts will also presumably have Visa or MasterCard branded debit cards.
Walmart Pay is currently available at the App Store and Google Play and it works on both Android and Apple devices. You can also down load it from Walmart.com here.
News articles indicate that Walmart plans to add the capability to access Apple Pay and Android Pay in the future. That means you will be able to use Apple Pay at Walmart or on Walmart.com through Walmart Pay. Walmart has refused to take Apple Pay, even though it sells Apple products.
Another logical development will be for other Walmart competitors; such as Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) and Kroger, to launch their own apps. The widespread use of such Apps could be the main thing that takes Apple Pay mainstream, because it will be able to pay by phone all over town.
It looks as if Walmart might become the new leader in the payment solutions industry. One has to wonder how the Apple Zombies will react to that. Will it actually get them to start shopping at Walmart or not?
Clarification: this story was updated after publication to reflect new information from a Walmart press release dated July 6.