First announced in December 2015, the latest in the mobile wallet pipeline – Walmart Pay – is live as of yesterday to Walmart shoppers at 110 branches in Arkansas and a further 500 in Texas. The feature will be available in all stores “soon,” the company said.
Card transactions carry fees for merchants, though Walmart likely pays the lowest rates in the business. Still, its own payment network would save it quite a bit in swipe fees. This was why Walmart was an early supporter of the troubled mobile payments consortium MCX. So will the Walmart shoppers ditch their credit cards for this smartphone alternative?
Not right now, said Madeline Aufseeser, chief executive at Tender Armor LLC, which offers fraud protection tools for card-not-present transactions. Here’s what she told Bank Innovation:
Mobile wallets, while they made a splash on the scene, will not be replacing any significant portion of card transactions. The amount of adoptions is still pretty negligible. That is definitely the future, but just like with cash and checks, mobile wallets will not eclipse the use of cards.
There are 7.9 billion cards in use around the world today, Aufseeser said, and for Walmart Pay to actually scale, the app will have to outpass the ever-demanding user expectations.
In the meanwhile, the retail giant said it currently has more than 20 million active monthly customers on Walmart app. The app will communicate with point-of-sale via QR code, using cards stored in Walmart.com. The company describes its new feature as a three-step process, Open, Scan, Done.
Here’s video Walmart released to introduce its wallet:
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