Walmart rolls out convoluted Walmart Pay across U.S., continues to block Apple Pay

By SteveJack

Today, Walmart announced that Walmart Pay, an antiquated and convoluted QR code-based way for Walmart shoppers ( to check out with their smartphones (Android, most likely, of course; although it actually does also work with real iPhones even if most of the iPhones are over at the much better-smelling Target as usual), is now available in the more than 4,600 Walmart stores nationwide.

As opposed to Apple Pay, where a user breezes through checkout by simply double tapping their Apple Watch Side button or iPhone’s Home button and holding it near the reader for a second, Walmart’s rather time-consuming and, frankly, depressingly-stupid solution goes like this:

1. At the register, open the Walmart app and choose Walmart Pay.
2. Activate your device’s camera.
3. Scan the unique QR code displayed at the register.
4. Wait for Walmart Pay to confirm connection.
5. Wait for the Walmart cashier to scan and bag your items.
6. When the cashier finishes, an “eReceipt” will be sent to the app.
7. Don’t look back or the glares from the Walmart shoppers you’ve just delayed even further will bore holes straight through your skull.
8. Grab your bags of plastic Chinese crap and run for your life!

And, that’s it, you’re done! 🙂

Of course, Walmart has now access to all of your personal information. Credit/Debit card number(s). Address. Phone number(s). Everything you purchased. Ever. Etc. Surely they are safeguarding Walmart shoppers’ private information with the utmost security. (wink, wink)

In contrast, Apple Pay keeps customer payment information private from the retailer. Apple does not track usage. With Apple Pay, your card details are never shared when you use Apple Pay – in fact, they aren’t even stored on your device at all. Apple Pay is one of the safest and most private ways to pay in existence.

Walmart does not support Apple Pay ostensibly because they want to ensure that people with actual disposable income continue to shop elsewhere.

Bottom Line: Walmart Pay is convoluted, antiquated, cheeseball garbage. Perfect for Walmart!

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, former web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section who also basically called the iPhone over five years before Steve Jobs unveiled it.


  1. It’s an admission by Walmart that their average customer is a morbidly obese moron who couldn’t possibly understand they are being screwed over and at risk to lose what little money and credit they may have. Have you ever been in a Walmart and looked at the majority of people who shop there? It’s a really sad statement about the average American.

    1. …hmmm. Just wondering what YOU were doing there, then… 😀

      Some of the stereotype is true, but of course all kinds of normal people end up there for one thing or another now and then.

      Still, this is way retrograde thinking out of WM home base….

    2. Actually Walmart keeps up with the latest necktie fashions. Their current line of dress shirts cannot be beat for value. You can replace a wardrobe of dress shirts there for $120.

  2. “depressingly-stupid solution”
    if you compare it with apple pay you can see the Walmart solution is really bad …

    but it’s depressing in another way, think about it a whole bunch of managers, software engineers etc , most probably highly paid made tons of money (from salaries) producing a sucky product. They worked on this for years …

    I bet you the manager probably made more money than 90% of Americans (as only about 7% of Americans earn more than 100k a year)

    it’s another story that blows the myth that you only get rich doing ‘good stuff’ which all the self help Tony Robbins etc keep telling you.

    it’s depressing to me because I always try to do and fight for ‘good stuff’, (that’s also why I use Apple stuff a lot) .
    in real life ‘inferior’ and ‘evil’ often cash in big.

    1. “it’s another story that blows the myth that you only get rich doing ‘good stuff’…”

      I have no idea what “history” you’ve been taught, but I hate to break it to you – this has never been true in the history of humans on this planet.

      There is no myth that “… you only get rich doing ‘good stuff'”. History would show you that the reverse seems to be the norm and the far easier way to attain wealth.

      1. didn’t say ‘history’ said ‘story’

        I was referring to self help books (‘myth that you only get rich doing ‘good stuff’ which all the self help Tony Robbins etc keep telling you.”) but it could also be stuff teachers, parents etc tell you. that’s the ‘myth’ (it’s party true that you CAN succeed by doing ‘good’ but they leave out the ‘other’ part… )

        I guess they can’t say you can get rich by manipulating the system, steal IP from your friend (like the Google boys and Schmidt from Jobs), abuse your monopoly position (like the early Microsoft) or make dumb stuff like Walmart Pay (the tech is really primitive) etc to get rich. You probably can’t get a big publisher to publish a book like that.

        Although Scott Adams author of ‘Dilbert’ does write a bit about that in his book “how to fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” where he says many self help books and rich people say you succeed because of things like ‘passion’ which is NEUTRAL (everyone can have ‘passion’ and so acceptable to the reader customer) but neglect all the other stuff like many rich are ‘smart’ or ‘lucky’ or ‘ manipulative ‘ etc. He describes how he was promoted upwards working in a bank without knowing anything (at the start he was almost fired for being an incompetent cashier the lowest rung because he can’t count — but manipulated a clueless V.P into promoting him to be an executive and he kept doing it getting higher and higher while knowing little about each position etc ) which became grist for ‘Dilbert’.

        Walmart Pay is Dilbert in real life.

  3. You have to bypass the Walmart pay screen before you can use any other forms of payment. What a pain in the tush and a time suck. It’s like they are trying to force you to use it.

    1. Well there’s one thing (“trying to force you to use [their proprietary solution]”) they’ve learned from Apple (e.g., the notifications side bar and only opening in Safari…. …and just about everything in super-proprietary iOS….

        1. Hes a Walmart shopper remember. However just to point out you can actually use Walmart Pay in this oh so restrictive iOS environment. However Walmart doesn’t allow ApplePay in its own walled garden so to anyone objective that would not appear to be the same at all. But I guess like Walmart, the less bright is all you are aiming at really with such erroneous comparisons.

      1. Apple does not ‘force’ you to use their system.

        Making something the default, is not the same thing as ‘forcing’.

        Gee, it’s almost like you have an agenda to push.

  4. Costco recently stopped accepting american express cards, because they think they’re bigger than Amex and wanted preferential treatment on the fees. Walmart only accepts visa in my area as well. There is a Walmart a few miles from my house, and I witnessed this convoluted system in action today…. Horrendous. Conversely, paying at bestbuy is easy as hell since they accept Apple Pay now. I understand these retailers think they’re important, but if Apple pulls their products from Walmart they’ll lose tons of business in nicer areas. Just returning to selling prepaid phones, Samsung garbage, and knock off MP3 players has killed many electronics retailers who decided that they wanted better terms from Apple… It boggles my mind on a daily basis how people can be so stupid and stubborn when they see a better solution in front of them and willfully deny it… Unbelievable.

    1. Costco and all major national and international always have gotten preferential rates from credit card companies. Have a little business that runs $30,000 a year through credit cards? You should expect to pay up to 5% of your gross revenues to the credit card companies. Run a billion dollars a year through a single credit card agency/bank? Expect to pay much, much less than half that.

      Costco was able to work a much better deal with Visa than they had previously or could work out for the future with AmEx. A one half percent difference on the credit cards when virtually everyone is paying with a credit card is a *huge* difference to the bottom line with these guys.

      Further, Costco was able to work out better “rewards” for that card with Visa so even if you’re not shopping at Costco there are more benefits to using the new Costco Visa for the consumer who has one than there were for consumers previously using the Costco AmEx card.

      It is absolutely not about “they think they’re bigger than Amex [sic]”.

      1. Actually it is about that… It wasn’t .5% either. I didn’t appreciate my Costco Amex being replaced with a visa with only a months notice, the great thing about the Costco Amex was that I could combine it with my platinum and make one payment for both. It also didn’t have a limit. My new visa has a limit, doesn’t go through every time I use it for more than $1000 without a phone call even though I have that alert turned off, is from a different bank, and the rewards you speak of are not redeemable half the time. I still shop at Costco because I like their meat and good deals on gift cards and other food products, but I really hate using visa there. Btw in our business which is what would be classified as a small business ~6m in revenue annually we accept Amex and pay nowhere near 5%, and there’s no way Costco was ever paying that to begin with.

  5. Oh, so wish Walmart would bring this “wonderful” solution to their ASDA stores in the UK (but maybe they have and I just don’t know it because I never go there); anyway, would be another good reason never to go there!!

    1. Well their wonderful steam rolling success in the US hasn’t actually been reflected in their less than stellar performance with ASDA thankfully, where its having its lunch eaten by its German low cost competitors at one end and quality outlet Waitrose at the other, so hopefully they won’t have much choice in the matter if they want to compete at all.

  6. Apple Pay is starting today in Switzerland. Every second smartphone in Switzerland is an iPhone and NFC terminals are ubiquitous, so Apple picked the right country to start with on the European mainland.

      1. That Swiss article has a point. On the iPhone, the NFC hardware can only be accessed by Apple and the Apple Pay utility. It is closed to the third-party developers and even if Walmart wanted to, they couldn’t develop their own contactless payment system for the iPhone because there is no API for the NFC chip. The anti-trust barrier in EU is lower than in the US, and even there, taking advantage of the monopoly to prevent competitors from entering a specific market segment with a competitive solution may be violating the law.

  7. MDN, please correct your article (fact-checking alert): double-press on home button is not necessary in order to use Apple Pay. That action will invoke your wallet whenever you want to open it, but if you are at a pen Apple Pay Point-of-Sale, and if the PoS is ready to accept payment, as soon as you bring your phone to the terminal device, your Wallet app will automatically open and the only action required is your fingerprint authentication.

    It would be literally impossible to reduce the number of steps necessary to pay at the PoS, regardless of what payment system is used: put your phone on the terminal, put your finger on the touchID sensor.

    Apple Pay is, without a doubt, and without challenge, the fastest, most convenient method for payment.

    1. ApplePay’s problem isn’t the user interaction flow or the tech. Those are fantastic. The issue is the retailers. I rarely can use it. Most clerks never heard of it. Apple has done a lousy job getting the work out to retailers. And often (with purchases over $50) I still have to show the stupid card.

  8. MDN Take 7reg;

    “With Apple Pay, your card details are never shared when you use Apple Pay – in fact, they aren’t even stored on your device at all.”

    I don’t understand this statement in the MDN Take ®. While your credit card information is not transferred as part of the transaction – a single-use token is generated instead – I thought that the credit card information is stored on your device in the secure enclave chip. Otherwise, how can you initiate a transaction??

    1. “Apple Pay is simple to use and works with the cards you already have on the devices you use every day. And because your card details are never shared when you use Apple Pay — in fact, they aren’t stored on your device at all — using Apple Pay on your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad is the safer and more private way to pay.”

    2. No they’re not stored at all, the only time your card credentials are transmitted is when you turn your card on for use with Apple Pay. After that a random token is generated every time you use it, and if someone steals your phone they can’t get any card details from it. It is incredibly secure, and why I use it wherever it is accepted.

      1. I agree that your card information is not transmitted, but it is STORED on the iOS device.

        Take a look at the latest article on Apple Pay in Switzerland:

        “Card details are encrypted on the iPhone …”

        That was my point.

        1. No, the card into is not stored on the iOS device. You’re misunderstanding the complexity of the system. Page 33 of this document explains it:

          Click to access iOS_Security_Guide.pdf

          “Full card numbers are not stored on the device or on Apple servers. Instead, a unique Device Account Number is created, encrypted, and then stored in the Secure Element. This unique Device Account Number is encrypted in such a way that Apple can’t access it. The Device Account Number is unique and different from usual credit or debit card numbers, the card issuer can prevent its use on a magnetic stripe card, over the phone, or on websites. The Device Account Number in the Secure Element is isolated from iOS and WatchOS, is never stored on Apple servers, and is never backed up to iCloud.”

  9. If Steve Jack’s order of actions is correct, this is extremely scary. Can anyone on this site verify the order of the actions?

    My point: you have to verify with Walmart’s system that you’re going to pay BEFORE the cashier scans your items AND BEFORE you know the total bill. Then, if Steve Jack’s order of actions is correct, you have no point after the total is electronically deducted from your account to object to the total amount. It’s just automatically deducted when the cashier hits total.

    We’ve ALL had cashiers make mistakes and over charge us for items or double scan items (intentionally or accidentally). And what if the price scanned in is different from what was displayed on the rack? Seems the system as described above has no safeguard in it for the consumer to refuse to pay for bad pricing or actions at the checkout.

    Again, this is *IF* Steve Jack’s order of actions is in the right order and is complete.

  10. My better solution if I shopped at Walmart:
    1. Take out credit card.
    2. When prompted, insert card
    3. Remove card when prompted
    4. Sign

    Using a credit card is more convenient than their “solution”

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