Walmart is rolling out in its stores its own smartphone-based payment system that uses QR technology rather than near-field communication, or NFC, which is used in the payment systems of Apple and Google.
Integrated into its smartphone app, the new Walmart Pay will work at any checkout lane and with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card, the retailer said Thursday.
The service is to be introduced in select stores from this month. The retailer is planning a nationwide launch to be completed by the first half of next year.
Walmart U.S. senior vice president for services, Daniel Eckert, said in a video that existing mobile wallets are limited to certain types of phones, operating systems or payment types, which places constraints on users. He said Walmart Pay has been designed to be integrated with other payment wallets as well.
Customers will be able to set the feature to prioritize payments using only say gift cards and use credit and other cards as the second payment option. They can also set the app to pay by a combination of cash and Walmart Pay.
Walmart is counting on demand for the payment system from the 22 million customers who actively use the Walmart app each month. The app ranks among the top three retail apps in the Google and Apple app stores, it said.
Millions of the company's customers used their smartphones for shopping over the past holiday weekend and nearly half of online customers used their mobile devices, said Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce.
Customers at the store have to open the Walmart app and choose the pay feature. After activating the camera, the user can at any time during checkout scan the code displayed at the register to connect Walmart Pay. The process is complete when a store employee scans and packs the purchases. An electronic receipt will be sent to the app and can be viewed at any time, Walmart said.
Walmart is listed as a backer of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which promotes a retailer-supported payment system, called CurrentC.