Walmart to Debut Payment App in Unsure Mobile Payment Market

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Are you ready for the brand new Walmart payment app coming soon?

Mobile payments have been around for a while without taking over the payment landscape, and many thought that the tide would turn with the premiere of Apple Pay in September 2014. However, although many people were excited about its launch, Apple Pay has not lived up to its potential to be a revolutionary payment system. Why is that?

What was heralded as new, groundbreaking technology turned out to be just a combination of plastic magnetic bank cards and EMV chips, with the addition of TouchId technology, which has also been on the market for several years. Although the hype turned out to be soft, many users and merchants were still looking forward to additional technological developments to become available via Apple updates, which have been slow in coming.

This may have turned off both merchant and consumer, as both groups have been slow in adopting this technology. It has become a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Are merchants not installing NFC readers because consumers are not using them? Or are consumers not using mobile payment options because the stores they frequent do not have the NFC reader?

This has not slowed down the development of new mobile payment systems, with Android Pay and Samsung Pay following shortly thereafter. Walmart just announced that it is launching a new mobile payment system, which will allow their customers to use smartphones to pay for Walmart purchases with credit, debit, prepaid, or gift cards. The Walmart payment system is expected to hit select stores in December, with widespread, national availability in 2016.

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all use NFC technology, which requires a special NFC touch pad to be installed at the POS site. Walmart will bypass this system by having the user open the Walmart app on the smartphone and the POS system will then display a scan code to be read by the app. Currently, the Walmart app has approximately 22 million active users per month.

The Walmart payment app will also be available on all smartphones, unlike Apple Pay, which is only available to iPhone 6 users, and Samsung Pay that is available only to Samsung phone users, and Android Pay that is available only to Android users. The Walmart payment app will also support most payment types, including prepaid debit cards, which are rarely, if ever, supported by payment apps.

Merchants, consumers, and industry insiders are all excited to see the results of the Walmart payment app and its success in the market.

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