Walmart is launching its own proprietary mobile wallet app, Walmart Pay, which will begin rolling out this month in the U.S. Walmart Pay is intended as an Apple Pay and Android Pay competitor–except for the fact that it keeps payments (and fees) completely within the retail giant’s in-house ecosystem.
The company’s iOS and Android apps will allow users to pay at Walmart checkouts with any smartphone, through which they can charge purchases to their personal credit or debit cards, pre-paid cards, a Walmart gift card, or a store credit card. It essentially combines a checkout payment system with app functionality, which allows customers to also locate items in-store or pick up items they have reserved.
“The simplicity and ease of Walmart Pay comes not only from how it works, but also in how it’s been built,” Walmart SVP of services Daniel Eckert told Fast Company in a statement. “We made a strategic decision to design Walmart Pay to work with almost any smartphone and accept almost any payment type–even allowing for the integration of other mobile wallets in the future. The result is an innovation that will make the ease of mobile payments a reality for millions of Americans.”
Walmart has long been resistant to allowing Apple Pay, and Walmart executives have publicly criticized the system in the past. The retailer’s app launch is good news for customers, but bad news for CurrentC, an Apple Pay competitor Walmart had backed in the past. Walmart launching its own app is essentially a vote of no confidence in CurrentC, which has big backers (Target, Kohl’s, Rite Aid), but has been plagued by delays, a data breach, and withering beta reviews from customers.
Nationwide rollout of Walmart Pay is expected to take place in early 2016.