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Walmart adds mobile payments to its smartphone app

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Walmart

There's Android Pay, Apple Pay, and now Walmart Pay — a new mobile payment system from the US retailer that lets customers buy their shopping spoils using the Walmart app. Customers simply add a credit, debit, or gift card to their account and, when they reach the checkout, scan a QR code that appears on the terminal with their phone's camera. Users can secure this process with a four-digit passcode or Apple ID, reports Mashable, and although QR codes can be more hassle than touch-to-pay NFC systems, Walmart argues that its method works for a wider range of devices. All customers need on their smartphone is the Walmart app and a working camera.

Walmart is already backing another, unlaunched, mobile payment system

The launch of Walmart Pay is notable given that the company is already part of a consortium of retailers planning on launching their own mobile payment system. Members of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) are betting on a QR code-based payment app named CurrentC, with retailers unveiling their plan last year and blocking the use of Apple Pay at their stores. (Walmart told Mashable that it developed its system independently of MCX.) CurrentC is having trouble, though, with an original release date of 2015 reportedly delayed until next year and not all members of MCX holding the line against their rivals — Best Buy, for example, has given in and started supporting Apple Pay. Meanwhile, Walmart's own payment system will roll out today in select stores, with a nationwide launch "to be complete by the first half of next year."

It may seem unwise for Walmart to go it alone in the mobile payment market, but the retailer still has massive clout. Around 140 million customers shop at Walmart every week, and the company says that 22 million of these use its app every month. The app also offers features like refilling pharmacy prescriptions, storing shopping lists, and arranging the pick up of online orders. If customers are already using Walmart's app, then chances are they might try its payment system too.