Walmart has long been known as a retail outlet that offers great prices on millions of different items. The low prices on goods that this company offers surely helps to make shopping easier for consumers from all walks of life. Now, though, Walmart has launched a new mobile payment system that may well prove to make shopping even easier for the underbanked consumers in the United States. This new mobile payment system is called Walmart Pay, and it may help to make the world’s most popular store even more popular. And more than that, Walmart Pay may help the company to edge out the popular Apple Pay payment system, due to the fact that Walmart is refusing to accept Apple Pay in any of its locations.
Walmart’s senior vice president, Daniel Eckert – the guy responsible for all of the retail giant’s financial services – is also making moves to entice the people he describes as “cash customers” via Walmart Pay. Cash customers are also known as unbanked and underbanked consumers. These folks make up nearly 28 percent of all consumers in the United States, according to data that was recently released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC.)
Walmart figures that by enticing the cash customers, they will be targeting roughly 40 million shoppers. Some of these people really don’t have a bank account at all, while others rely on alternative financial services on a regular basis. Walmart has already been known for offering its reloadable prepaid cards, the popular MoneyCards that have been available for some time. This product was offered via a joint effort between Walmart and Green Dot. Now, people can add these types of prepaid cards to their Walmart Pay online wallets, instead of linking the cards to traditional debit/credit cards or bank accounts.
Eckert said, “In the context of mobile payments, the existing wallet solutions out there limit customers as they work on the latest and greatest hardware and devices, and with credit and debit cards. We needed to find a different way.” Eckert went on to state that Walmart regulars are “over-indexed” with regards to the adoption of smartphone usage. There may be 28 percent of those folks without traditional bank account access, but 75 percent are routine smartphone users. These people often use their cell phones to receive money and send money via texting services.
Walmart Pay is operable with all Android and iOS devices, even as far back as the earliest generation of iPhones from Apple. Eckert said, “We’re the only retailer to offer a mobile wallet that gives that much access,” obviously very proud of this new initiative by his company. This mobile wallet will be rolled out soon. It starts its pilot in Northwest Arkansas, near stores that are close to the Walmart home base of operations in Bentonville.
Walmart’s endeavor into the mobile payment game comes with the relatively new form of technology rapidly gaining ground with American consumers. Some experts have forecasted that the total value of mobile payments in the United States will increase by roughly 210 percent in 2016. By the time 2017 rolls around, data indicates that about 50 percent of Americans will be routinely making payments with their smartphones and other mobile devices. Walmart may not always be the first company to come to mind when you think about the technological “cutting edge”, however with the introduction of Walmart Pay, it looks like the retail company is on the fast track to the future of mobile payment offerings.