Target stakes claim to mobile payments with Wallet

 In Featured

Target Monday officially became the latest big-box retailer to add an in-store, mobile-payment feature to its app in a move that also combines the company’s digital coupon program into a single scan at checkout.

Target’s new feature, called Wallet, at the moment is aimed at customers who possess a Target REDcard, either credit or debit. A customer uses the REDcard as a funding source for Wallet and can also redeem Cartwheel offers and Weekly Ad coupons with one scan of a 2D barcode when it’s time to make a payment.

REDcard holders also receive the standard 5 percent discount that’s associated with that particular program.

The combination of payment and digital-coupon redemption is similar to what Kohl’s introduced in late 2016 with Kohl’s Pay.

For Target, it becomes yet another former Merchant Customer Exchange retailer to thumb its nose at NFC-based mobile payments, and even traditional payment cards, with the new feature.

Wallet, which is available for both Android and iOS, uses 2D barcode technology, similar to the Starbucks approach. And because users can only link a Target REDcard as a funding source, Target keeps customers within its “four walls” and avoids paying interchange fees to the card networks.

Target joins CVS, Kohl’s and Walmart as former MCX retailers that have added a payment feature to their respective mobile app.

MCX shelved its CurrentC mobile payment system in 2015 after multiple false starts. The company eventually sold the technology behind the system to Chase, which then turned around and launched Chase Pay.

Rumors of a mobile-payment system coming to Target began to brew in 2015 once MCX met its demise.

Michael McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer, said earlier this year that Target’s new service would “at least initially” be available with the REDcard and the retailer for now has stayed true to its word. The company does plan to add support for its own store gift cards as well, which would help open up Wallet to financially underserved customers. or consumers who simply refuse to sign up for a REDcard account.

In contrast, Walmart Pay enables users to link any credit or debit card, prepaid account for Walmart gift card.

Photo courtesy of Target

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