Walmart Pay’s National Rollout Validates Mega-Retailer’s Strategy

Seven months after revealing its branded mobile payment app, Walmart is making Walmart Pay available in more than 4,600 of its stores throughout the U.S., with early figures indicating consumers approve of its “connected” app model.

In establishing Walmart Pay as a mobile payment option within its broader menu of mobile services, the retail giant emphasizes the importance of putting the retailer at the center of a mobile shopping experience. In addition to payments, Walmart’s app also supports price-matching and other services that shoppers can use within its stores.

“There is something very powerful about the ease and simplicity of Walmart Pay,” Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S., stated in a July 6 press release. “We’re connecting all the parts of Walmart into one seamless shopping experience.”

Walmart says transactions with Walmart Pay, which launched in Texas and Arkansas in May, increased 45% in the past week, while 82% of its customers say they would recommend using the mobile payment system. In addition, three of four customers have given Walmart Pay a five-star rating.

Of the Walmart Pay transactions, 88% came from repeat Walmart Pay users.

Walmart Pay launched around the same time that the Walmart-backed venture, Merchant Customer Exchange, shuttered its plan to launch a multi-retailer mobile wallet called CurrentC.

This growing adoption of Walmart Pay reinforces the retailer’s position that it can maintain ownership of its customer relationships even as more companies bring their own mobile wallets to market.

The advancement of Walmart Pay also comes at a time when Walmart is engaged in multiple conflicts with Visa, including a lawsuit the retailer filed against the card brand related to debit transaction routing and a disagreement over the use of a PIN or signature to authorize debit transactions.

Visa quickly counter-sued Walmart, saying the retailer has reneged on a previous agreement to accept signature debit authorization.

Walmart’s relationship with Visa has deteriorated to the point where its stores in Canada no longer accept Visa transactions, citing steep fees. It is unclear at this time if the stance against Visa would extend to the Walmart Pay app when it becomes available in Canada.

But the Walmart Pay expansion in the U.S. also clearly reinforces the retailer’s longtime stance that it did not need to accept PayPal or other mobile wallets in its stores.

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