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Walmart Pay to let customers pay at retail stores via smartphones

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Walmart_exterior.jpg

Walmart is looking to launch its own payment feature called ‘Walmart Pay’, an app that will let customers pay for shopping at Walmart using their phones, reports Reuters. The company will launch the app starting with Android and iOS and will allow payments using any credit, debit, prepaid or Walmart gift cards.

To use the feature, customers will need to install the Walmart Pay app, and select to pay with it at the checkout counter. Post this, the phone camera is used to scan the code displayed at the register, and an e-receipt of the amount is sent to the app. Customers can then make the payment via their preferred method over the phone.

The feature will be introduced in select stores in the US, with additional stores to be added after the holidays season. The service will be made available countrywide in the first half of 2016. Walmart also mentions that it will add other payment options like mobile wallets in the future. Note that the app will only work at Walmart stores, although the company could open up the platform for other merchants as well.

Interestingly, Walmart is a part of MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), which backs another payments app called CurrentC, although this app only allows to pay via gift cards, a store’s private label card or through the checking account. However the app, which was being developed for over three years, seems to have failed to take off. It currently has an average 1 star rating out of nearly 3.5k reviews. Given this, Walmart’s move to create its own app seems to make sense.

Mobile wallets for offline payments:

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– In September last year, Apple officially launched a TouchID & NFC-based mobile wallet service called Apple Pay that would allow users with iPhones to buy physical goods and services in the United States.

– In February, Samsung acquired the Boston-based mobile wallet solutions provider LoopPay for an undisclosed amount. LoopPay makes cases for popular smartphones with its technology built into it, that turns existing magnetic stripe readers into mobile contactless receivers.

– Recently, Google launched Android Pay, which users NFC to communicate with billing machines to get the bill, and pay via phone.

– In India, Paytm did something similar, when it launched QR codes based payments. The QR code will contain Paytm account details of the merchants, while the buyer only has to enter the payment amount and approve the payment.

Image source: Wikipedia user Sven

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