Walmart Pay joins the growing list of mobile wallets

Walmart Pay joins the growing list of mobile wallets
Posted: Jul 26, 2016
Comments: 0
Author: Bill Lehman

Walmart Pay has joined the burgeoning list of “Pays” – mobile payment apps – and has quietly made its way from its launch in 2015 to now being accepted in every Walmart store (over 4,600 locations) in the U.S. And early reports show that 88% of transactions processed through Walmart Pay are from users who previously used the app, meaning high satisfaction. Contrast this with Apple Pay’s low repeat usage rate – one-third of all Apple Pay users don’t use it a second time. Walmart Pay, which is actually a component of the Walmart mobile app, works with any credit, debit, prepaid (and of course) Walmart card, and allows payment at checkout by opening the app and scanning a QR code.

No enrollment required for issuers

Walmart Pay itself doesn’t hold a customer’s payment information, which is kept on his or her account, but not the phone. Walmart Pay is incorporated into the Walmart app and customers can check out in stores by opening the app and using it to scan a QR code at the payment terminal to speed up the process. On a positive note for banks and credit unions issuers do not have to enroll their cards or have their credit and debit cards tokenized in order for cardholders to use their cards in Walmart. Walmart Pay works with any major credit, debit, or pre-paid cards, as well as Walmart cards. And unlike Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, Walmart’s app works on pretty much every brand of smartphones. However, Walmart Pay only works at Walmart stores, where as Apple Pay works at about 2 million retail stores, according to Besides the merchant acceptance, there are many other differences as you can see from the chart below.

The Starbucks mobile payment app and Walmart Pay both have in common that they are “closed.” This means they can only can be used in their respective stores. They both use QR codes for terminal interaction, as does Chase Pay, and they are both passive, that is, an issuer does not need to enroll their cards or sign an agreement to participate.

Looking at this list, and knowing that there are probably several more mobile payment apps on the horizon, raises several questions.

Do consumers need that many wallets on their phone? Another question that only time will answer, but today there are many examples of multiple apps that essentially do the same thing. Most Uber riders also have the Lyft app. Many Soundhound users also use Shazam. According to Quaoa, the average smartphone in the U.S. has 25 apps installed, but the majority of time only less than 5 apps are used regularly. The question is...can we make a mobile payment app be one of those 5?

Is having this many “Pays” a benefit for issuers? The fact that Walmart Pay accepts all cards is indeed good, especially given that Walmart was an initial participant in MCX, which is now defunct, but was initially formed to reduce interchange costs by not allowing credit and debit as forms of payment. Mobile wallet adoption has been slower than predicted. If Walmart Pay is successful, which it looks like it will be, more consumers will get used to using their phones to pay. There’s a school of thought that a rising tide raises all ships, and maybe Walmart Pay will be that surge.










Bill Lehman

Bill LehmanBill Lehman

With over 20 years of progressive executive leadership in the electronic payments industry within the credit union industry, Bill now serves as the SVP of Managed Services for Trellance.

In this role, he and his team of Sr. Portfolio Consultants are responsible for assisting member credit unions

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