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Walmart Enters The Mobile Payment Ring

Walmart has become the latest addition to the increasingly crowded mobile payment marketplace.

Just in time for Christmas, the world’s largest retailer today unveiled Walmart Pay, available through the company’s mobile app, and, unlike its competitors, compatible with any iOS or Android device.

The service, which works with any major credit, debit or pre-paid card, as well as Walmart gift cards, uses QR code technology rather than nearfield communication (NFC), allowing in-store customers to check out electronically by scanning a code at the register with their smart phones. An e-receipt is then issued and the shopper can leave with his or her items.

Walmart will introduce the feature in a limited number of stores this month and plans to complete a nationwide launch by the first half of 2016.

“The simplicity and ease of Walmart Pay comes not only from how it works, but also in how it’s been built,” said services senior VP Daniel Eckert. “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.”

The service joins a growing field that includes mobile payment options from Apple, Android and Samsung. According to TWICE contributor Jeff Trachsel, chief marketing officer of NextWorth Solutions, mobile payments to national brands and local merchants are projected to grow from $52 billion in 2014 up to a whopping $143 billion by 2019.

“For this holiday season, mobile payment options are huge as time-crunched consumers crave convenience,” he noted in a TWICE blog. “The eruption of mobile payments is already here, and retailers unable to adapt will fall short.”

Beyond easing payment pain points, Walmart’s global e-commerce chief Neil Ashe added that “Walmart Pay is the latest example – and a powerful addition – of how we are transforming the shopping experience by seamlessly connecting online, mobile and stores for the 140 million customers who shop with us weekly.”