Walmart Pay completes nationwide rollout as impressive returns roll in

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Walmart’s fledgling mobile payments system is now active in all of its 4,600-plus stores across the United States — and you can expect the retail giant to push the technology with new and existing customers in a big way after achieving what it views as highly encouraging early returns.

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

The retail giant did not reveal specific data, but said that it saw a 45 percent lift in Walmart Pay transactions in the first week of July. And since the retailer first launched the system in December, approximately 88 percent of Walmart Pay transactions have come from repeat users.

When Walmart introduced its system, the company said it had designed Walmart Pay so that other mobile wallets could be integrated in the future.

But based on the early success of the system, it seems that there’s no great need either to rush integration or to activate NFC at the POS in order to accept Android Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

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

Still, Eckert reiterated the company’s intention to enable payment in stores via third-party wallets.

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

In the meantime, Walmart has been advertising the nationwide availability of Walmart Pay nationwide — starting even before it announced the nationwide rollout. The retailer shared the news in early July in a weekly circular that reaches some 40 million customers across the U.S.

And that’s just the beginning.

“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 said that some 22 million-plus consumers are already using the Walmart app each month across Android and iOS devices. And the retailer has intentionally and methodically pursued the development of a system customers can access on almost any device, as opposed to mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay that work only on selected smartphones.

Consumers who have payment information stored in their account can link these credentials to Walmart Pay.

And by any, the company means any. Customers can set up prepaid cards and Walmart giftcards for a funding source in addition to credit and debit cards.

To initiate a POS transaction via Walmart Pay, the customer opens the Walmart app and activates the smartphone’s camera function from within the app.

When the checkout process begins, the POS terminal screen displays QR code for the transaction. The customer simply scans this code with the smartphone camera to initiate payment with the card on file.

The system then sends an electronic receipt to the app, which the consumer can view at any time.

One subtle way that the retailer is pushing Walmart Pay is by displaying the QR code for a transaction on the POS terminal screen as the default payment method. To use another form of payment, the customer must first decline Walmart Pay, which brings up an alternate payment screen.

Walmart also has placed signage near the terminal reminding customers to use Walmart Pay.

Eckert said that, beyond marketing, Walmart will rely on store employees to be well-versed in Walmart Pay. It helps that a good portion of the company’s 1.2 million employees also  use the new system for their own purchases, Eckert said. Still, 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.”

cover photo courtesy of Walmart Stores Inc.

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