August 24, 2016
On Thursday, Walmart introduced its own proprietary in-store payment system that will put it in direct competition with the “Pays” (Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Chase Pay) and with CurrentC, the retailer-backed solution started by MCX, of which Walmart was a founding company. Walmart Pay will be tightly integrated with the Walmart mobile app and will require customers to open the app and scan a QR code at the point of sale. During the launch announcement, Walmart executives touted the solution’s ominchannel capabilities within the mobile app, and, according to Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., how an in-store payment function will round out “a better shopping experience for our customers in our stores.”
Walmart said the solution will be rolled out in “select stores” this month, with a national rollout complete by the end of the first half of 2016. Eckert and Walmart’s President and CEO of Global eCommerce Neil Ashe noted the app’s 22 million users have been especially active this holiday season.
How the move affects MCX is unclear. The Walmart Pay solution is reminiscent of CurrentC in the use of QR codes, but where retailers were trying to undermine the credit card networks through MCX by requiring a bank account or store credit card as the funding source, Eckert stressed that Walmart Pay could be used on any device with virtually any electronic payment method. And, Walmart can keep the data it gathers on its mobile customers for itself, rather than, presumably, share that data with other MCX retailers.
Walmart and MCX both said through spokespeople that Walmart remains committed to MCX and CurrentC. Walmart said in the launch press release that other mobile wallets could be integrated into Walmart Pay, hinting of a possible way—though perhaps unsatisfying to MCX—it could still offer the CurrentC app.