Since its official launch in October of 2014, Apple Pay has grown exponentially. With service in several countries, Apple Pay is supported by thousands of the most popular retailers, as well as hundreds of the most popular banks and credit unions. With millions of users now taking advantage of Apple Pay, it’s the largest mobile payment service on the planet. Some retailers, however, have been reluctant to jump on board.
The largest, and perhaps most notable, holdout has been retail giant Walmart. Walmart has pledged allegiance to the Merchant Customer Exchange, and yet-unreleased mobile payment system “CurrentC” since Apple Pay’s original launch. Although CurrentC isn’t expected to debut until some time in 2016, Walmart took another step away from Apple Pay this morning, when it announced its own mobile payment system, “Walmart Pay”.
Walmart Pay was introduced for select stores this morning, integrated into the Walmart app for iOS and Android devices. The system works a bit differently than Apple Pay, using QR code technology as opposed to the near-field communications (NFC) technology found in the Apple Pay app.
Users open the WalMart app and select WalMart Pay before activating the device’s camera to scan a QR code displayed on the register. Although the method is a bit slower than Apple Pay’s method, WalMart will be tapping into the 22 million existing monthly users of their app, and WalMart expects the app to be a hit among customers.
One advantage the payment method currently holds over Apple Pay, however, is that it works with almost any smartphone. According to Walmart Senior Vice President Daniel Eckert, the company “made a strategic decision to design Walmart Pay to work with almost any smartphone and accept almost any payment type,” adding that the app was built “allowing for the integration of other mobile wallets in the future.”
Eckert claims that the company is still committed to the CurrentC platform, and will accept CurrentC when it finally does launch. There are currently no plans to accept Apple Pay payments within the app.