There are thousands of Walmarts scattered across the country, so it’s no surprise that companies like Apple and Google have been trying to get the supermarket chain to adopt their mobile payments services, Apple Pay and Android Pay, respectively. Unfortunately, Walmart has refused to partner with any of them, and now we know why: it’s launching its own mobile payments service. Going by the uninventive name of Walmart Pay, the new service can be accessed through the Walmart app on either Android or iOS, and can only be used at a few stores in Arkansas, but the company plans to begin an international expansion in the second half of 2016.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched its own mobile payment system, dubbed Walmart Pay, in select stores near its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters on Thursday, giving customers their first opportunity to use a mobile payment system in its stores. The retailing giant so far hasn’t allowed other mobile payment platforms, including Samsung Pay or Apple Pay. Instead, it built its own system, which it said works with any iOS or Android device that can support the Walmart app and at any checkout lane, including self-service checkout. Walmart Pay can handle major credit, debit, pre-paid and Walmart gift cards. The company is in discussions that could result in other mobile wallets being added to Walmart Pay, said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S. Wal-Mart is part of a consortium called the Merchant Customer Exchange that includes Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. Inc. The MCX is working on an app called CurrentC that is still in the pilot phase in Columbus, Ohio. Members of the Merchant Customer Exchange pledged not to accept other mobile payment systems, according to The Wall Street Journal. That exclusivity was temporary and expired in August, a Walmart spokesperson said, freeing members to allow other mobile wallet transactions. Wal-Mart plans to roll out Walmart Pay nationally after the first half of next year.