Unlike Costco, Walmart Has ‘No Plans’ to Accept Apple Pay

Costco, the world's second largest retailer behind Walmart, recently confirmed that it now accepts Apple Pay and other contactless payment methods at all of its 750 warehouse locations in the United States.


Walmart appears to be unfettered by the move, however, as it remains committed to its own Walmart Pay platform in the United States.

"Walmart Pay is the exclusive form of mobile payment accepted at Walmart and we have no plans for that to change," said Walmart spokesperson Erin Hulliberger, in a statement provided to MacRumors today.

Walmart Pay, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works at any checkout lane with any major credit, debit, pre-paid, or Walmart gift card. To use it, a customer must tap on Walmart Pay and scan the QR code displayed at the checkout. An electronic receipt is automatically sent to the app.


Walmart was originally committed to the Merchant Customer Exchange consortium and its payments solution CurrentC, which was later postponed indefinitely, before launching Walmart Pay in 2015. As of July 2016, Walmart has rolled out Walmart Pay to some 4,600 of its locations in all 50 states.

In late 2015, Walmart's senior vice president of services Daniel Eckert said Walmart Pay allows "for integration of other mobile wallets in the future," which provided hope that the big-box chain may eventually accept Apple Pay and other contactless payments, but nearly three years later, that has yet to happen.

Walmart's resistance to Apple Pay continues despite many other large retailers, including Best Buy, Rite Aid, and now Costco, reversing course and accepting the payments solution in stores. Apple recently confirmed that pharmacy chain CVS and 7-Eleven convenience stores will also accept Apple Pay starting later this year.

Last year, rival big-box chain Target likewise said it had "no plans" to make Apple Pay available in its stores, despite accepting it as a payment method in its app. Instead, Target launched a barcode-based solution.

Apple Pay launched in the United States in October 2014, providing tap-to-pay functionality with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch after setting up a supported credit or debit card in the Wallet app. Apple Pay is now available in more than 20 countries, and is set to launch in Germany later this year.

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Walmart Pay ‘Close to Surpassing’ Apple Pay in U.S. Mobile Payments Usage

Walmart announced "Walmart Pay" in December of 2015, bundling its mobile payment solution directly into the Walmart app for iOS and Android devices and entering the market one year after Apple's own Apple Pay launched in 2014. Now available nationwide in 4,774 Walmart stores, Walmart Pay is "close to surpassing" Apple Pay in terms of mobile payments usage in the United States (via Bloomberg).

According to Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services and digital acceleration, Walmart Pay is enrolling "tens of thousands of new users a day," and has seen a steady growth over the past few months. Two-thirds of those who try it use it again within twenty-one days. These statistics give Eckert confidence that Walmart Pay will soon beat Apple Pay in the U.S., "in terms of use by shoppers in stores where they're accepted."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s app is close to surpassing Apple Pay in usage for mobile payments in the U.S., giving the world’s largest retailer even more clout as a growing number of people shop with their smartphones.

“If daily enrollments don’t slow down, I think that’s pretty well in the cards shortly,” said Eckert, senior vice president for services and digital acceleration. “I would have to imagine we are getting pretty close.”
Market researcher Richard Crone predicted that Walmart Pay will grow bigger than Apple Pay in active U.S. users (who use the mobile wallets for at least two transactions per month) by the end of 2018. Walmart and Apple reportedly held discussions in early 2016 that centered upon incorporating Apple Pay into the Walmart iOS app, but fell through because of the "difficulty of blending the technology underpinning each company's approach."

Walmart is said to have begun gaining ground on Apple earlier in 2017, when 5.1 percent of Walmart shoppers said they used Walmart Pay this past June, just below the 5.5 percent of iPhone users who said the same at locations that accept Apple Pay. In terms of other competitors, Walmart Pay's adoption rate is "higher than Samsung Pay and Android Pay combined." One analyst pointed out this is likely because Walmart owns and controls the mobile wallet software and "can make quick changes."

Chart via Bloomberg
“Apple Pay’s road is much more difficult than Wal-Mart’s is,” Brendan Miller, an analyst at Forrester Research, said in a phone interview. “It means that Wal-Mart can make quicker changes, they can move faster in many respects than Apple Pay.” Forrester’s survey of 58,000 online consumers in the first half of 2017 found that 7 percent of them used Apple Pay in the past three months, while 6 percent used Walmart Pay.
Although the services are similar in their payment goals, there are a few differences between Walmart Pay and Apple Pay. Walmart's mobile wallet presents users with a barcode that has to be scanned to complete a transaction, unlike Apple Pay's NFC tap-based system. Walmart Pay also incorporates all of a user's in-store offers, promotions, rewards, and gift card balances in one place, which Apple Pay is still inconsistent in supporting for many stores.

Despite their close rivalry in the mobile wallet space, Walmart is reportedly "more interested" in directly competing with Amazon than Apple. Over the past year, Amazon has been expanding quickly in the grocery space with its various test projects like Amazon Go and its acquisition of Whole Foods. Walmart said it will continue focusing on expanding the features of Walmart Pay as more competition emerges, and according to Crone the debut of the software has provided a solid launchpad for the company's future: "They flawlessly deployed the system, and it works."

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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