Walmart announced the nationwide rollout of its mobile payments offering, extending support to more than 4,600 outlets across the country.
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 world's largest brick-and-mortar retailer has been gradually rolling out the program across the U.S. over the last few months.
"There is something very powerful about the ease and simplicity of Walmart Pay," Walmart executive Daniel Eckert said in a prepared statement. "What's even more powerful though, is what this means for our customers. We want to make every day easier for busy families. We're connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, frictionless checkout and apps and websites that are simple to use."
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 two months ago.
The company also released a few interesting facts about Walmart Pay, which is integrated in the retailer's mobile apps. Walmart said it has seen a 45 percent increase in Walmart Pay transactions over the last week, and 88 percent of payments come from repeat users of the system.
While mobile payments appear to be gaining ground in some markets around the world, they continue to struggle 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 have yet to find mass-market traction.
Walmart's effort is worth watching, however. If the company 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.
- read this Walmart announcement
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