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Walmart Enters Mobile Payment Arena

Brands, retailers and banks are all struggling to remain relevant in an increasingly crowded mobile payment app arena. And just when you've thought that all contenders have already entered the ring, another company introduces its solution to mobile payments.

Walmart announced that it will launch Walmart Pay, according to The New York Times. This new mobile payment service will slowly release across the U.S. starting in Arkansas this month as a new feature for its current app. Walmart hopes that its pre-established community of consumers will adopt this new platform, allowing it to become one of the most popular mobile payment tools. However, this big box retailer is taking a different approach when it comes to the technology behind its mobile payment app.

Where's the NFC?
While Apple, Samsung, Google and others take advantage of near-field communication - a technology that allows users to simply tap their embedded mobile device to make transactions - Walmart is using QR codes to enable a "smoother trek through checkout lines," the source reported. This approach ensures that regardless of shoppers' smartphone brands, features or operating systems, they can still pay for products with Walmart Pay. Consumers just need to download the app, register with either a gift card or credit card, open the app during the transaction and use their smartphones' camera to scan a QR code that pops up at the register.

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More than just payments
Walmart has a few tricks up its sleeve to get consumers using their mobile payment app. The New York Times noted that Walmart Pay will integrate with the flagship Walmart mobile app. This will allow users to do much more than simply pay for products. For example, the source explained that shoppers can compare prices directly from the payment app. Additional capabilities and features could actually be what sets Walmart Pay apart from Apple, Samsung and Google's solutions - besides the technological aspect.

Walmart Pay will support a wide variety of mobile devices, while others in this space typically work on smartphones of the same manufacturer, or at least operating system. Karen Webster, contributor to PYMNTS.com, wrote that to "stand a chance" in the mobile payment app arena, brands must release their apps on more than one platform. In this regard, Walmart certainly has a chance to win over consumers.

While it might seem like Walmart is poised for success with its mobile payment app, other corporations shouldn't be deterred from entering the market. As Webster explained, any business has a chance to be a serious contender in this competition as long as it launches a device agnostic payment app.