Walmart to roll out ‘Walmart Pay’ QR code-based mobile payment system in 2016

“Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning to offer its own way for shoppers to pay with their smartphones in its stores, setting itself up as a competitor to Apple Inc. and other companies that already have rolled out mobile-payment technologies,” Sarah Nassauer reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The retail behemoth is adding a feature to its existing mobile app so consumers can pay at the register with any payment information stored in their account, including gift cards, debit cards or credit cards. The retailer plans to release the payment capability to its 4,600 U.S. stores in the first half of next year, company executives said on Wednesday.”

“Daniel Eckert, Wal-Mart’s head of services for the U.S., said the retailer decided to build its own payment system because the other options either only work on particular smartphones or only allow users to pay with a select group of credit or debit cards,” Nassauer reports. “About 75% of Wal-Mart shoppers own a smartphone, he said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wal-Mart = Android. Just sayin’.

Nassauer reports, “With the new system called Walmart Pay, shoppers use Wal-Mart’s app and camera feature to scan a QR code at the register which then connects to the payment cards on file in their accounts.”

MacDailyNews Take: Kludgy, basic, and antiquated. Hey, it’s perfect for Wal-Mart!

“Wal-Mart’s offering marks a definitive move away from the Merchant Customer Exchange, or MCX, a band of retailers and restaurants that joined together in 2012,” Nassauer reports. “Mr. Eckert said the retailer remains committed to MCX and the CurrentC app, and said in the future, Wal-Mart’s app could integrate other mobile payment systems like CurrentC and Apple Pay as a form of payment as it does now with credit cards.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Eventually, Walfart will add Apple Pay capability, if they ever want to, you know, cater to consumers with disposable income and the proven will to spend it, as any smart retailer obviously should.

Until then, iPhone and iPad users can at least use Apple Pay in Target’s app, which is good since Target is Wal-Mart for Apple users anyway (better merchandise, much cleaner stores with better layouts, significantly less fat on display, far fewer body odors, way more teeth, etc.). Target should wise up and recognize this opportunity by turning on Apple Pay capability immediately.

Apple Pay is accepted in over a million stores. And counting.

Where to use Apple Pay


  1. The ‘Walmart app’ they speak of is CurrentC and highly stupid the MCX will only let its member use CurrentC, I think it was RiteAid and CVS where using Apple Pay and then had to turn it off

    1. The exclusivity period expired a few months ago. They are no longer required to disable ApplePay, so they now have it on. I’ve been paying with ApplePay at RiteAid and CVS for months now. Works as advertised (i.e. no effort whatsoever — just authenticate with your fingerprint and it’s done).

      1. I was pleasantly surprised Oct 1 when I was out of town on Business and had no choice but to shop at a Rite Aid and my ApplePay worked! I have since used it several times at Rite Aid as well.

        My only complaint … they have to scan a barcode on my iPhone for my Plenti card, and every time I do that it triggers ApplePay on my iPhone as I pass it past their POS terminal so the cashier can scan the bar code. It’s a bad complaint I know, but it seems like their POS terminals might be too sensitive.

        Hopefully sometime soon, Plenti will work on ApplePay just like Walgreen’s loyalty card does! (Cashier asks for Walgreen’s loyalty card, wave iPhone at reader, put thumb on home button, cashier totals order, wave iPhone at reader, put thumb on home button, DONE!)

  2. My local Kroger had ApplePay working beautifully but then subsequently turned it off. I’ve asked my store manager and sent an email to corporate to turn it back on and have been informed they’re working on it. For those who want ApplePay in Kroger do what it takes to get it.

  3. The limitations with this system are;

    1. You need Wal-Mart’s app installed.
    2. You need to be connected to the internet.
    3. You need to have your payment information on file with Wal-Mart.

    None of this is required to use ApplePay.

    1. And this system requires *your phone* to scan the QR code they raise??? I get ticked when I have to launch an app so *the store* can scan in the loyalty bar code.

      Have they *seen* some of the crappy cameras on cheap Android phones? Slow to start, slow to focus, even slow to capture. And then your *phone* needs a network connection to use this? I know people who don’t have data plans, and at least 2 mega stores in my area have poor or no reception in several sections including the checkouts. Expect lineup times to double.

      The only people who would use this are those who can’t afford better phones. And those are the least likely to actually have enough funds in their checking account to use this system regularly. The only upside to this would be to promote fiscal responsibility and not put yourself in too much debt using credit, but that’s a very small upside since after a couple uses people will just stop using it.

      This just screams epic failure.

      1. You ‘could’ buy an Apple Watch. Any iPhone newer than a 4S will work with the Watch.

        Of course, if you’re using the Watch ONLY for that, it’s rather an expensive way to use ApplePay.

      2. All hardware falls to the wayside.

        Apple’s system requires biometric authentication which is what they feels is the only secure method for making sure you are spending your money.

        That’s not a limitation. That should be a REQUIREMENT!

    2. True… but if they connect the WalMart account to some kind of rewards program, you can bet people will use it. Starbucks does this very successfully.

      And Starbucks is currently ( succesfully ) using a QR code system.

      1. But which device is presenting the QR code, and which is scanning it?

        All the stores I go to with separate loyalty programs, I present the QR code and the teller scans it.

        In this Walmart-backed system *they* present the code and *you* have to scan it. Although it sort of makes sense given how they designed their system, that design is totally 180° backwards from a convenience perspective. And security (or any feature, really) that sacrifices too much convenience means it won’t be used much. That’s why smartphone NFC was a failure or at most a niche until Apple Pay came along.

        1. That DOES seem strange. It seems that relying on a customer’s hardware to do the scanning is a cost saving thing and fragile.

          Why outfit all stores with QR code readers and maintain them when you can just get the customer to bring the hardware to the store.

          While I get WHY they’re doing this ( I kind of get why they’re doing this ( off-loading OCR processing to the computer that comes into the store ) but it does seem strange.

      1. I guess it’s nice they sell Apple gear. But, you don’t really need Walmart to buy Apple stuff. There’s plenty of other stores in town where you can buy the same Apple gear for the same price.

        So Walmart selling Apple gear is not really a unique reason to shop at Walmart. Unless Walmart has run all the other stores in town out of business. If that’s the case, then you should buy one Apple product from Walmart. Then use use that device to order every other Apple product directly from, for the same price as Walmart.

  4. Not everyone who goes to Walmart is low income. I go there occasionally, and I don’t consider myself low income. That being said, people like me who sometimes want to go to a real store instead of ordering online should be the type of customer that Walmart wants. Maybe if I could find what I want in a store, I wouldn’t be giving Amazon and Newegg so much of my money. If Walmart won’t embrace Apple Pay and chip cards, then I just won’t go there at all for anything. I’m not interested in payment systems whose sole goal is to track my purchasing habits to find a way to make even more money off of me.

  5. This is a waste for Walmart, but, really, I don’t care and neither should you.
    Everybody goes to Walmart, rich, poor.
    This will end up costing Walmart big dollars, but they can blow it off for years and years.

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