Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) said on Wednesday it has completed the rollout of its Wal-Mart Pay mobile payment service across the United States and that 88 percent of transactions on the app are from repeat users.
Walmart Pay is available on Apple and Android devices and allows payments with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift cards.
Until the present day, the Walmart Pay feature on its app can now be used at all 4,600 U.S. stores and more than 20 million people regularly use its app, which also provides discounts and helps shoppers locate items within stores.
The stock already had gained 19 percent this year through Tuesday.
According to the statement the company executives made on a conference call, the payment option debuted in December to select stores near Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. It's a built-in option in the Walmart app, where customers can store payment information for a credit card, debit card, gift card or prepaid card and check out in stores by opening the app and using it to scan a QR code at the payment terminal.
Wal-Mart did not give details on the rise in transactions since the launch, or the number of users using the mobile app in its stores.
Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services at Walmart U.S., said it's too early to share how many customers are using the service, but said adoption increased 45% last week, when the rollout completed, from the previous week.
Yet what draws clear is that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its mobile-payment system across the U.S., adding convenience for shoppers and giving the world’s biggest retailer new data into its customers’ shopping habits.
“As more customers get on board, it could mean an easier shopping experience as Walmart taps into shoppers' purchase behavior.” Said Daniel Eckert, who teased the possibility of something like a smart shopping list that would autofill from the Walmart app based on a user's previous purchases.
U.S. retailers have launched a series of mobile payment apps in the last two years in spite of the fact that customers and merchants have been slow to adopt them. However, Wal-Mart’s expansion on the mobile-payment system can be interpreted as a bet that the new payment system will make the checkout process more convenient and speed checkout times, though it doesn’t have a figure on how much time it saves shoppers.
The expansion also is believed to put the retailer in direct competition with technology giants such as Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., which all offer their own ways for consumers to make mobile purchases.
On the other hand, Eckert was mum on whether Walmart Pay will ever integrate with third-party mobile wallets like Apple Pay, but it could happen. Walmart stores do not accept Apple Pay, the virtual wallet built into Apple devices. But, for example, people with Apple Pay could add Walmart Pay as a payment type.
"We built Walmart Pay with flexibility in mind," he says. "We continue to have discussions with several third party wallets on how that might unfold."