Walmart Pay goes live nationwide as retailer sees early gains from system

Walmart’s fledgling mobile-payments system is now active in all its stores nationwide and you can expect the retail giant to push its availability to new and existing customers in a big way after seeing what it believes are significant early returns.

As of last Wednesday, Walmart Pay is available at the chain’s 4,600 locations after months of staggered rollouts throughout the U.S.

While Walmart did not reveal specific data, the company said it saw a 45-percent lift in Walmart Pay transactions in the last week alone. And since the retailer first launched the system, some 88 percent of Walmart Pay transactions come from repeat users.

Based on those numbers, it’s clear Walmart is not in a rush to integrate third-party mobile wallets with Walmart Pay, or activate NFC at the physical point of sale to accept Android Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

“Our investment in mobile and digital [efforts] is paying off,” Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., told reporters Wednesday during a conference call.

Eckert said Walmart has no plans to turn on NFC in stores, but that the retailer is still in negotiations with third-party mobile wallet providers.

When Walmart first introduced its system in December, Eckert said the retailer designed Walmart Pay in a way that allows for the integration of other mobile wallets in the future.

He reiterated that stance Wednesday.

“We built Walmart Pay with flexibility in mind, and that includes the anticipation of [adding] third-party wallets,” Eckert said. “We continue to have discussions with third-party wallets now that we have a nationwide rollout.”

Meantime, Walmart already was advertising Walmart Pay’s nationwide availability before Wednesday’s official announcement. The retailer revealed the news earlier this week in a weekly circular that reaches some 40 million customers nationwide.

“Now that we have the nationwide rollout, you’re going to see a robust advertising effort to get more customers to use Walmart Pay,” Eckert said.

Walmart already has some 22 million-plus consumers using the Walmart app each month across different Android and iOS devices. As it was developing Walmart Pay, the retailer wanted a system its customers could access on almost any device as opposed to mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay that work only on select smartphone models from those companies.

Consumers who have any payment information stored in their Walmart.com account can link those credentials to the mobile app and Walmart Pay. Walmart will allow consumers to use credit or debit cards as a payment option. Consumers also can use the retailer’s own gift cards as a funding source.

When a consumer is ready to pay, they open the Walmart app and activate the camera function from within the app. The consumer then scans a QR code at the register which in turn connects to the payment card on file with Walmart.

The retailer then sends an electronic receipt to the app that the consumer can view at any time.

One small, subtle way Walmart is pushing Walmart Pay at the physical point of sale is that the QR code is present on the terminal’s screen at the start of the transaction as the “default” payment method. Consumers have the option to decline Walmart Pay on the screen and complete their transaction using a payment card.

Walmart also has signage near the terminal reminding customers about Walmart Pay.

In addition to official marketing plans, Eckert said Walmart will also rely on store employees to be well-versed in Walmart Pay. He said it helps that a good portion of its 1.2 million employees also are customers who use the new system. But employee education about Walmart Pay will be a constant mantra for the company.

“Education is going to be an always-on-type-of-thing with our employees,” Eckert said. “It’s something that we will consistently lean on going forward.”

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