Walmart continued to expand its mobile wallet initiative over the last week, rolling out the service to stores in more than a dozen states.
The world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer said in a series of announcements this week that Walmart Pay is now available in Kentucky, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Tennessee, Virginia, the Carolinas and the Dakotas. Last week the offering launched in Alabama, and in May it became available in roughly 600 stores across Texas and Arkansas.
"The service was built to make shopping easier and faster, something we know our customers want," Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., said in a prepared statement. "Walmart Pay is a powerful addition to our app, a tool that we're using to transform the shopping experience by seamlessly connecting our online assets and our stores for customers."
Walmart Pay is available for Android and iOS users and is based on QR codes rather than the tap-and-pay NFC technology used in Apple Pay and some other systems. Users open the app at the checkout counter and scan a code displayed at the register, receiving a receipt through their phones.
The retailer unveiled the effort late last year, announcing plans to roll it out nationwide during the first half of 2016. Walmart had been a high-profile backer of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of major retail chains looking to push their own mobile payments system, but that initiative – dubbed CurrentC – was shelved last month.
While mobile payments appear to be gaining ground in some markets around the world – particularly in Japan, where they gained mainstream traction years ago – they continue to founder in the U.S. Starbucks has seen remarkable success with its app, which not only enables users to pay with their phones but also to redeem offers through the company's loyalty program. But heavy hitters such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), PayPal and Samsung are still struggling to find traction.
Walmart's effort is worth watching, however. The company has a massive retail footprint, obviously, and it is deploying Walmart Pay aggressively. If Walmart can give consumers good reasons to pay with their phones rather than credit cards or cash – and if it can educate both employees and customers about how the system works -- it could give the overall mobile payments industry a big push in the U.S.
MCX shelves nationwide rollout of CurrentC, cuts 30 jobs as Walmart Pay rolls out in Texas, Arkansas
Report: Samsung closing on Apple in mobile payments, but only 6% of iPhone users access Pay
Samsung Pay beta launches in U.S. as Apple expands mobile payments reach
MCX's CurrentC mobile payments system may not launch until 2016 as Samsung Pay muscles in
Apple pushed to drop transaction fees from Apple Pay
Survey: Two-thirds of top 100 U.S. retailers balk at adding Apple Pay this year