Wal-Mart Stores will start letting shoppers in its stores pay with their smartphone using the company’s mobile app, a move that could challenge other mobile-payment methods such as Apple Pay and the Merchant Customer Exchange.
The world’s biggest retailer plans to offer the service on Thursday at a few stores near its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The feature will then be available nationwide in the first half of 2016, said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services.
Wal-Mart looks to capitalize on the 22 million people who regularly use Wal-Mart’s mobile app, which provides discounts and helps locate items within stores. In all, more than 140 million Americans shop at a Wal-Mart each week.
The move thrusts Wal-Mart further into a battle to replace wallets with smartphones. Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. all offer their own ways for consumers to make mobile purchases. The Merchant Customer Exchange -- a consortium of retailers that includes Wal-Mart and Target Corp. -- also is testing a mobile-payment app after years of discussions.
To use the system, shoppers will have to download the app and add in payment information. If they already have a Walmart.com account, the credit card information from there will be transferred into the app. At the checkout, customers will use their phone’s camera to scan a QR code displayed on the screen of the credit card reader. That code will then process the payment with the credit card they have on file.
Bloomberg News, edited by ESM