Walmart Pay 'Close to Surpassing' Apple Pay in U.S. Mobile Payments Usage

Walmart announced "Walmart Pay" in December of 2015, bundling its mobile payment solution directly into the Walmart app for iOS and Android devices and entering the market one year after Apple's own Apple Pay launched in 2014. Now available nationwide in 4,774 Walmart stores, Walmart Pay is "close to surpassing" Apple Pay in terms of mobile payments usage in the United States (via Bloomberg).

According to Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services and digital acceleration, Walmart Pay is enrolling "tens of thousands of new users a day," and has seen a steady growth over the past few months. Two-thirds of those who try it use it again within twenty-one days. These statistics give Eckert confidence that Walmart Pay will soon beat Apple Pay in the U.S., "in terms of use by shoppers in stores where they're accepted."

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s app is close to surpassing Apple Pay in usage for mobile payments in the U.S., giving the world’s largest retailer even more clout as a growing number of people shop with their smartphones.

“If daily enrollments don’t slow down, I think that’s pretty well in the cards shortly,” said Eckert, senior vice president for services and digital acceleration. “I would have to imagine we are getting pretty close.”

Market researcher Richard Crone predicted that Walmart Pay will grow bigger than Apple Pay in active U.S. users (who use the mobile wallets for at least two transactions per month) by the end of 2018. Walmart and Apple reportedly held discussions in early 2016 that centered upon incorporating Apple Pay into the Walmart iOS app, but fell through because of the "difficulty of blending the technology underpinning each company's approach."

Walmart is said to have begun gaining ground on Apple earlier in 2017, when 5.1 percent of Walmart shoppers said they used Walmart Pay this past June, just below the 5.5 percent of iPhone users who said the same at locations that accept Apple Pay. In terms of other competitors, Walmart Pay's adoption rate is "higher than Samsung Pay and Android Pay combined." One analyst pointed out this is likely because Walmart owns and controls the mobile wallet software and "can make quick changes."

Chart via Bloomberg

“Apple Pay’s road is much more difficult than Wal-Mart’s is,” Brendan Miller, an analyst at Forrester Research, said in a phone interview. “It means that Wal-Mart can make quicker changes, they can move faster in many respects than Apple Pay.” Forrester’s survey of 58,000 online consumers in the first half of 2017 found that 7 percent of them used Apple Pay in the past three months, while 6 percent used Walmart Pay.

Although the services are similar in their payment goals, there are a few differences between Walmart Pay and Apple Pay. Walmart's mobile wallet presents users with a barcode that has to be scanned to complete a transaction, unlike Apple Pay's NFC tap-based system. Walmart Pay also incorporates all of a user's in-store offers, promotions, rewards, and gift card balances in one place, which Apple Pay is still inconsistent in supporting for many stores.

Despite their close rivalry in the mobile wallet space, Walmart is reportedly "more interested" in directly competing with Amazon than Apple. Over the past year, Amazon has been expanding quickly in the grocery space with its various test projects like Amazon Go and its acquisition of Whole Foods. Walmart said it will continue focusing on expanding the features of Walmart Pay as more competition emerges, and according to Crone the debut of the software has provided a solid launchpad for the company's future: "They flawlessly deployed the system, and it works."

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Top Rated Comments

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34 months ago
Well we know this "study" wasn't peer reviewed. Walmart Pay is accepted in Walmart and Walmart and Walmart... Apple Pay is accepted in many stores. This is a comparison of two very different things. If Walmart Pay branches out and is accepted at other stores then we can start to make the comparison.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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34 months ago
I avoid Walmart at all costs.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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34 months ago
Meh, Walmart pay is not a payment in other stores. That is like comparing Apple Pay to Target gift cards.

I am glad they see value in Mobile payments, however misguided.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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34 months ago
You day will come, Walmart. No one will stop the Amazon steamroller.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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34 months ago
If only Apple would incentivize companies to switch to NFC faster. They're just hoping that companies adopt NFC because users want it, but clearly this isn't happening fast enough.

It would also be great if Apple used just a small portion of their profits to create an incentive for consumers, like getting iTunes credit for ever X amount of money spent or transactions made. Samsung Pay and Android Pay both have similar promotions. The problem is corporations aren't willingly switching to NFC just because a very small user base want it.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
34 months ago
Unsurprising. Apple pay is basically Walgreens pay.

Most merchants aren't even sure if and what NFC they support and it seems to rarely be Apple based on waving my phone around.

And small businesses are almost exclusively square these days.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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