- UPDATE: Wal-Mart said Wednesday that its Walmart Pay mobile payments app is now available in the more than 4,600 Wal-Mart stores nationwide. The retailer also said that Walmart Pay transactions increased 45% in the last week since it accelerated the app's rollout.
- Wal-Mart continued to speed up availability of its Walmart Pay mobile payments offering, earlier this week rolling it out in 14 more states including New York, California and Washington.
- The expansion comes less than two weeks after the retailer began accepting Walmart Pay in stores in 15 other states.
- Wal-Mart has said more than 20 million shoppers use the QR code payment app monthly.
Wal-Mart isn't messing around, having made its mobile payments app available in stores in 29 states just in the last couple weeks, up from just a handful before the recent push.
Not that Wal-Mart hadn't been planning to do this all along, but its expansion of Walmart Pay neatly coincides with at least two other pieces of big news on the mobile payments front. First, the CurrentC mobile payments app, of which Wal-Mart was one of the backers, recently appeared to be put out of its misery while still in beta. Like CurrentC, Walmart Pay is an app that requires phones to scan QR codes at the payments terminal to complete a purchase.
Second, Apple announced that it's expanding Apple Pay to be available on the online checkout pages of several retailer websites—Wal-Mart not among the initial list of retailers aiding Apple in this expansion.
It's still early days in the mobile payments sector. It's hard to say if payments apps based on QR code scanning can thrive, even though CurrentC never made it out of the trial stage. To be fair, it may not have been the fault of the technology so much as the possibility that it's backers had their plates too full with other obligations and priorities to put much energy behind CurrentC.
Still, the expansion could be a sign that Wal-Mart is content to take its own path with its own store-branded payments app, rather than relying on a third party like Apple. Maybe Wal-Mart eventually will accept Apple Pay, but as Richard Crone, principal at Crone Consulting, recently told Retail Dive, the retailer is the one in the driver's seat during the payments evolution.
"One line of thinking is if you can get millions of customers paying with your own app that you've branded, you're in control and can continue to use that app to offer its users special incentives," Crone said. "What you've got is a great relationship builder."