Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is now testing a mobile pay feature that allows Walmart customers to pay with any major credit or debit card or Walmart gift cart from their smartphone, the retailer announced Thursday.
Walmart Pay is available through the Walmart mobile app, and will be accepted in select Bentonville stores this month.
Walmart plans to launch the program nationwide, in its more than 4,500 stores during the first half of next year, according to a Walmart press release.
Walmart is the first retailer to offer its own mobile payment system that works with credit and debit cards, according to the press release. Other stores offer mobile pay that works only with store gift cards.
To use Walmart Pay, a customer opens the Walmart app at a register and chooses Walmart Pay.
Then, he or she activates the camera to scan a QR code displayed at the register. The payment is automatically made after the items are scanned and bagged, and an eReceipt will be sent to the app and can be viewed at any time, according to the press release.
”The Walmart app was built to make shopping faster and easier,” Neil Ashe, president and CEO of Walmart Global eCommerce, said in the press release. “Walmart Pay is the latest example — and a powerful addition — of how we are transforming the shopping experience by seamlessly connecting online, mobile and stores for the 140 million customers who shop with us weekly.”
Twenty two million customers actively use the Walmart app each month, according to the press release.
According to the Associated Press, Walmart executives said that other mobile pay options had limitations. For example, Apple Pay only works on iPhones, while Samsung Pay and Google’s mobile pay system only work on Android phones.
At the same time, executives said Walmart Pay is designed to integrate with other payment apps, and Walmart is also part of a pilot program that is testing a system called “CurrentC” and includes other retailers, including Target, according to the Associated Press.
Walmart Pay has an added security benefit that transmits an alternate card number, generated by the card issuer, to the retailer, leaving the real card number safe if the store’s system gets hacked, according to the Associated Press.
The company also says no card information is stored on the phone, but the real card number is still stored at what it says is a secure data center, according to the Associated Press.