Walmart Pay, which allows customers to pay for their purchases at a store checkout counter using an app on a mobile phone, is now available for transactions in all Walmart stores across the nation.
The feature, which can be used on any Android or Apple iOS smartphone, is part of the company's Walmart app and allows customers to use any payment type at any store checkout lane, according to a July 6 announcement. Customers can make their purchases through Walmart Pay using any credit, debit, prepaid or Walmart gift card.
The company announced Walmart Pay in December 2015, along with plans to roll it out to all of its U.S. stores by mid-2016, according to an earlier eWEEK story. At the time, Walmart said its app was already being used by about 22 million customers each month.
To use Walmart Pay, customers open the Walmart app on their phones, chose Walmart Pay and use the camera on their devices to scan a code displayed at the register during the checkout process to connect to the service. After a store clerk scans and bags the items being purchased, the transaction is processed automatically and a receipt is emailed to the customer through the Walmart app, where it can be viewed any time.
A customer's credit card and personal data are stored and used for transactions behind Walmart firewalls, with no payment credentials stored on a customer's smartphone or exchanged electronically at the register, according to the company.
The Walmart app, which was released previously, also lets customers pick up an online order at a Walmart store, refill a pharmacy prescription and find an item's location inside a store.
"There is something very powerful about the ease and simplicity of Walmart Pay," Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. "What's even more powerful though, is what this means for our customers. We want to make every day easier for busy families. We're connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience with great stores, easy pickup, fast delivery, frictionless checkout and apps and Websites that are simple to use."
According to statistics released by Walmart about the use of Walmart Pay so far, about 4 of 5 customers would recommend using the electronic wallet for future purchases. In addition, about 88 percent of the Walmart Pay transactions have come from repeat users of Walmart Pay, the company said.
The mobile payments platform wars have been making plenty of headlines in recent months as more and more companies are adding their own systems to the marketplace. In November 2015, LG Electronics announced the development of its own payment service to take on similar services from competitors, including Apple Pay, Android Pay, Chase Pay and Samsung Pay.
In October, JP Morgan Chase announced Chase Pay with a planned mid-2016 launch, while Samsung launched Samsung Pay in the United States last September. Apple Pay, which has been available since October 2014, lets Apple users make purchases and payments using their late-model iPhones, iPads or Apple Watch devices.
In June, Walmart began offering customers a 30-day free trial of its $49-a-year, two-day ShippingPass package delivery service, which launched last year as it beefs up a campaign to take on the two-day Amazon Prime shipping service of one of its major competitors.
The free 30-day trial will be offered to new customers, while existing customers will get 30 days of free ShippingPass service added to their existing annual accounts before renewals are billed, according to a recent eWEEK story. The service costs less than the competing Amazon Prime service, which charges $99 for a year of two-day shipping for its customers.
Walmart Shipping Pass customers also get free returns online or in Walmart stores, and are not subject to minimum order totals. Amazon has minimum order amounts for customers who don't have Prime accounts. Amazon customers without Prime accounts must have at least $25 of books in an order or at least $49 of other eligible items to get free shipping.
Walmart began testing its ShippingPass service in the summer of 2015 as it went head-to-head with Amazon in the e-commerce shipping race for customers, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The service began as an invitation-only test and was expanded later in the year. A Walmart spokesman told eWEEK at the time that the shipping service was one of several delivery projects the company was testing, which also included experiments with online grocery shopping that featured pickup at stores or delivery to customers.