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posted by cmn32480 on Friday December 11 2015, @08:09PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the a-win-for-the-little-guy....or-not dept.

Wal-Mart has launched its own smartphone app for processing payments, rather than adding support for systems being touted by the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Google (Wallet):

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched its own mobile payment system, dubbed Walmart Pay, in select stores near its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters on Thursday, giving customers their first opportunity to use a mobile payment system in its stores.

The retailing giant so far hasn't allowed other mobile payment platforms, including Samsung Pay or Apple Pay. Instead, it built its own system, which it said works with any iOS or Android device that can support the Walmart app and at any checkout lane, including self-service checkout.

Walmart Pay can handle major credit, debit, pre-paid and Walmart gift cards. The company is in discussions that could result in other mobile wallets being added to Walmart Pay, said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of services for Walmart U.S.

Wal-Mart is part of a consortium called the Merchant Customer Exchange that includes Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. Inc. The MCX is working on an app called CurrentC that is still in the pilot phase in Columbus, Ohio. Members of the Merchant Customer Exchange pledged not to accept other mobile payment systems, according to The Wall Street Journal. That exclusivity was temporary and expired in August, a Walmart spokesperson said, freeing members to allow other mobile wallet transactions.

Wal-Mart plans to roll out Walmart Pay nationally after the first half of next year.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by zafiro17 on Friday December 11 2015, @08:25PM

    by zafiro17 (234) on Friday December 11 2015, @08:25PM (#275132) Homepage

    You know walled gardens are making their corporations rich when everyone wants one of their own. How many different apps do I need to pay for stuff these days? Ridiculous, but it's a sign of just how profitable this new Web 3.0 or whatever you want to call it actually is.

    Boo hiss.

    --
    Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis - Jack Handey
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by isostatic on Friday December 11 2015, @08:28PM

      by isostatic (365) on Friday December 11 2015, @08:28PM (#275135) Journal

      The Market will provide. The Market gives, and the Market takes away. Praise the name of the Market.

    • (Score: 2) by tempest on Friday December 11 2015, @08:47PM

      by tempest (3050) on Friday December 11 2015, @08:47PM (#275142)

      While I only go to Walmart maybe once every 2 years, there are many folks out there who make their weekly Walmart trip (or many times a week). What could tip the scales is Walmart offering a discount on purchases similar to cash back on credit cards. It's annoying how many places don't take my American Express card, but I get so much back for groceries I'd never dump the card. Using it elsewhere is just an added bonus. Walmart needs to get it's foot in the door in a similar way.

      How many payment apps does a person need? Just one if it's for the place where you buy almost everything.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Friday December 11 2015, @09:23PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 11 2015, @09:23PM (#275156) Journal

      I'm not sure anyone is getting rich on these payment apps other than the same credit card clearing houses that were doing to all along.
      Because, in the end, these all get tied back to a credit card (or direct draw on a bank account) somewhere somehow.

      Some of the rush to develop these apps is based on dreams of siphoning off a quarter percent of the total transaction, but that seldom works in practice, and all the payment apps I've seen end up just feeding the credit card companies.

      The convenience factor is all that accrues to the store, be it Wallmart, or Subway, or Starbucks, or Amazon or who-ever.
      Being able to place an order, in the format the store needs to make you a Footlong Sandwich makes it easy for the customer, and the store, and handling payments is kind of like getting fries with that.

      Still, you've hit the nail on the head, and most people don't have the patience to add and fund more than a couple of these apps.

      What is needed is for Android or Apple (Or Visa) to provide a framework to handle payments, and then load other stores plug in order processors on demand so that the coffee order arrives at your Barista in the way they are expecting it, and the loyalty points are accumulated in whatever way that company does it, or the Walmart shopping experience is the form of hell you are used to.

      It will probably take a couple good sized on-line payment app breaches to force this to happen. (And when that hits Walmart, it will be a doozie!).

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Marand on Friday December 11 2015, @09:43PM

        by Marand (1081) on Friday December 11 2015, @09:43PM (#275160) Journal

        I'm not sure anyone is getting rich on these payment apps other than the same credit card clearing houses that were doing to all along.
        Because, in the end, these all get tied back to a credit card (or direct draw on a bank account) somewhere somehow.

        Some of the rush to develop these apps is based on dreams of siphoning off a quarter percent of the total transaction, but that seldom works in practice, and all the payment apps I've seen end up just feeding the credit card companies.

        I think in this case, Walmart is just using it as another carrot, trying to lure more people into downloading and using its mobile app. The app already wants a slew of permissions on Android, from account/identity information to precise location, read/write media storage access, camera access, full network control, prevent sleep, vibration control, "read Google service configuration", etc. Some of it is legitimate for end-user purposes, sure (like the camera for barcode scanning), but it's also basically a data siphoning app that helps them profile you, advertise, and know everything about you.

        I've already seen it pushed pretty hard as an alterantive to those perpetually-broken barcode scanners strewn througout the store; making it usable for payment, too, just helps entice people into installing it. Any payment-app profit they get off of it is likely just icing on top of the data-collecting cake.

        • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Friday December 11 2015, @10:16PM

          by Nerdfest (80) on Friday December 11 2015, @10:16PM (#275181)

          If it works with a rooted device, I might use it. Android pay is kind of dickish that way.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by frojack on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:18AM

            by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:18AM (#275236) Journal

            If it works with a rooted device, I might use it. Android pay is kind of dickish that way.

            Dickish seems a tad harsh. Protective, careful, not wanting to be sued, etc.

            Not everybody even knows they are rooted.
            Your brother, or ex, might root your phone for you without your knowledge just cuz he can.

            After all not everybody is going to run the McDonalds app or the Walmart app., but everybody on android is going to run, well, android. A hole in android could be pretty bad. Once rooted a whole bunch of protections are gone.

            Malware can easily breach your mobile security. Gaining root access also entails circumventing the security restrictions put in place by the Android operating system. Which means worms, viruses, spyware and Trojans can infect the rooted Android software. There are several ways these types of malware get on your phone: drive-by downloads, malicious links, infected apps you download from not so reputable app stores. They can take over your phone and make it act behind your back: forward your contact list to cybercrooks, sniff your e-mails, send text messages, and collect personal data such as passwords, usernames, credit card details that you use from your smartphone.
             

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Saturday December 12 2015, @02:05AM

              by Nerdfest (80) on Saturday December 12 2015, @02:05AM (#275259)

              Even Apple, control-freak masters don't care if their phone is jailbroken for Apple pay. About half the people I know root their phones. Amazingly, banks and credit card companies let you connect to their sites with Windows computers, and worse, ones where the user is logged in as admin. Somehow, these devices running even more secure operating systems require more restrictions. Its dickish on somebody's part.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @02:31AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @02:31AM (#275267)

                Or... They recognize that not allowing people to log in from their PC is a total non-starter because everybody has a PC so they have to support that. While requiring that your phone not be rooted will only affect a tiny fraction of android users so they decided that the security improvement was worth frustrating such a tiny number of users.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:53AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:53AM (#275240)

        I work for a company that does processing for checks and credit cards. We also do the processing for things like this. It is a profitable market, for us at least. Only thing I can think of is this is almost like a vendor lock in. They give you some great deal to install the app and set up the wallet, and once you set up their wallet you are more likely to go to their store and use it. Perhaps though they are getting a bulk deal though like they only get charged half the normal rate.

    • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Friday December 11 2015, @09:29PM

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Friday December 11 2015, @09:29PM (#275157)

      Wallmart Gardens

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday December 11 2015, @08:32PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 11 2015, @08:32PM (#275136) Journal

    I know a lot of people hate Walmart. And, for good reason, what with the reports of Walmart cheating their workers of pay. Lot of hate for Apple, Google, Amazon, and EBay and Paypal too. And, oh yeah, Microsoft. And Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, IBM, etc.

    But I like some of the things Walmart does. A few years ago, Walmart got into the prescription drug business. I hoped they would have the clout to take on Big Pharma and get us more reasonable prices for prescriptions, and I liked that thought. But I haven't seen much effect.

    So, good to see more competition, however limited. Perhaps the real competition should be Bitcoin or one of its alternatives, as the antithesis to all these mega corporate payment systems and their inherent problems with the lack of privacy and their private justice for resolving disputes.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @01:00AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @01:00AM (#275241)

      Believe it or not they did do some good with generics. They have a whole list of prescriptions that you can get a 30 day supply for 4 dollars with no insurance.

      http://i.walmartimages.com/i/if/hmp/fusion/genericdruglist.pdf [walmartimages.com]

      Cholesterol, Diabetes, Glaucoma, Asthma, Blood pressure. Sure its all the generics, but its a potential lifesaver for people who need these meds on a low budget.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13 2015, @06:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 13 2015, @06:09AM (#275704)

        It seems any grocery store does that now.

    • (Score: 1) by Francis on Saturday December 12 2015, @10:23AM

      by Francis (5544) on Saturday December 12 2015, @10:23AM (#275362)

      But at what cost? If you're living in a major city then the damage that Walmart does isn't as big of a deal as it's virtually impossible for one company to destroy the economy. But, if you're living in a smaller town, Walmart can and has completely destroyed the local economy by undercutting the prices of the smaller shops that can't compete on price. Then when enough of the other businesses go under and people can't afford to buy from Walmart, they leave the area because they're losing money.

      It's not as big of a problem now, but it has been a problem in the past. Beyond that, they're corporate leeches of the lowest order requiring the local governments to subsidize their employees because they're too cheap to pay a decent wage.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Nollij on Friday December 11 2015, @09:56PM

    by Nollij (4559) on Friday December 11 2015, @09:56PM (#275166)

    Unless this is usable anywhere except Walmart, then it is simply not competing with the others listed. It's simply an extension of their app, no different than Starbucks' app.

    The only thing noteworthy here is that they're announcing they will not support the standard options.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @10:07PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @10:07PM (#275174)

    There is a nfc standard for payments. I can pay with my credit card by waving it over the machine. I can use my banks app to pay using the nfc antenna in my phone using the same tech.

    Why you need Google Wallet, or Apple Pay, or any other random system? Why can't you just use standard payment terminals and make your app work with those, as well as standard bank issued cards?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @10:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @10:48PM (#275198)

      http://business.time.com/2012/07/17/retailers-get-7-25-billion-customers-get-surcharges/ [time.com]

      Walmart and others save money by not paying the credit card company. They can also collect the data on customer purchases.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:04AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:04AM (#275232)

        Bingo!

        This is about attacking the duopoly that operates the payment processing networks behind those terminals.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SrLnclt on Friday December 11 2015, @10:23PM

    by SrLnclt (1473) on Friday December 11 2015, @10:23PM (#275186)

    Maybe I'm living in a box... but what is the point of using these apps? I can either (a) pull my wallet out of my back pocket, grab my chipped credit card, swipe/insert my card, sign if needed, or (b) pull out my phone, enter my password, find an app, and do whatever I need to do to authorize/pay. I would think both of these would take me maybe 15-25 seconds to complete a transaction, so no real time savings. For security I prefer my chip/signature credit card to a smartphone app (wish we had pin/chip cards here in the states). For the companies is this just so more people can get a tiny cut of the money? And the only real reason people are actually using these payment options is OMG! Look at me! Apps on my phone!?!?

    • (Score: 2) by Valkor on Friday December 11 2015, @11:13PM

      by Valkor (4253) on Friday December 11 2015, @11:13PM (#275210)

      I look forward to being able to go out and only carry my phone. Not carrying a wallet is one less thing to worry about. Also if someone steals my phone they will NOT be able to use it to pay for stuff, whereas cards (even chipped ones) can be cloned/MITM'd or outright accepted no questions asked by an unwitting clerk. With my phone, two different PINs are required to make a payment, neither of which a thief is likely to guess.

    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Friday December 11 2015, @11:18PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Friday December 11 2015, @11:18PM (#275216)

      Nail on head.

      I'm in Canada so NFC cards are becoming pretty common. I can pull my card out, tap a terminal, and paid in under 5 seconds. For larger transactions, chip & pin. Pulling out my phone, entering a password, finding the appropriate app, entering in another password??... is NOT faster or more convenient. Not only is it slower, but my phones batteries are occasionally dead; which is not something I look for in a payment method. Plus to make it worse I usually have NFC turned off to save battery; and for security... so more steps.

      I just have no use for this at all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @11:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11 2015, @11:37PM (#275224)

      I find the iPhone version both faster and easier than using my card.

      I carry my phone in my shirt pocket, so it's easier to reach and pull out than my wallet. With the phone, I don't have to find an pull out the appropriate card. All I have to do is touch the phone to the card reader while touching the fingerprint reader. It's considerably faster than a chip card; about 1 second vs 5-10 seconds. It doesn't use my actual account information, so there is no way my account information being stolen (although I believe the chip card has the same advantage). In the U.S, at least, they aren't using Chip & PIN, so if someone steals your card, they can make purchases with it. With the iPhone, that's effectively impossible.

      The only problem is that so few merchants actually support non-contact card readers.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12 2015, @12:10AM (#275233)

      > For the companies is this just so more people can get a tiny cut of the money?

      It is the other way around. They hope to get to the point where the visa/mastercard payment processing networks (and their fees) are out of the loop.

      But they are too greedy, they just want to do a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" rather than fundamentally change the market. Thus they aren't adding much practical value to either payers or merchants and will fail unless mastercard or visa do something so deeply stupid that they lose their massively dominate positions.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by RedBear on Saturday December 12 2015, @09:20AM

      by RedBear (1734) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 12 2015, @09:20AM (#275356)

      Maybe I'm living in a box... but what is the point of using these apps? I can either (a) pull my wallet out of my back pocket, grab my chipped credit card, swipe/insert my card, sign if needed, or (b) pull out my phone, enter my password, find an app, and do whatever I need to do to authorize/pay. I would think both of these would take me maybe 15-25 seconds to complete a transaction, so no real time savings. For security I prefer my chip/signature credit card to a smartphone app (wish we had pin/chip cards here in the states). For the companies is this just so more people can get a tiny cut of the money? And the only real reason people are actually using these payment options is OMG! Look at me! Apps on my phone!?!?

      Well, I can only speak for Apple Pay, but when I use it to pay at McD's or wherever it works so far it's much faster and simpler than what you've described. I just wave my (locked) iPhone at the NFC reader, the Wallet (used to be Passbook) app pops up (right on the lock screen, you don't need to unlock the device) and then you confirm payment with "Touch ID" (Apple's name for their home-button integrated fingerprint scanner).

      The whole process takes just a couple of seconds. No, literally. It works exactly as presented in Apple's keynote when they introduced it. If you don't have the right card selected as the default in Wallet it might take another couple of seconds to shuffle the cards, about as long as it would take you to find and pull out the correct card from your actual wallet. In my experience when Apple Pay has worked it has been a vastly superior experience to trying to swipe a card, or scan a chipped card, and wait for the cashier and then the signature screen. The chip process takes so long it's ridiculous. By the time you pull out your wallet I'm already done with my Apple Pay payment.

      Then there's the security features, the tokenization of the data so that each transaction is unique and can't be reused, and the fact that the retailer doesn't get any of the data, just the confirmation of payment. AFAIK, these go beyond the level of security that is implemented in current NFC payment systems. A signature on a screen certainly isn't secure in any way. That's just to cover the retailer's ass, it does nothing to prevent misuse of your card or protect your payment information.

      So, I can't speak for the other digital payment systems that are trying to compete with Apple Pay, but as far as Apple Pay is concerned I believe there is much more of a point to using it than just "OMG! Look at me! Apps on my phone!?!?". Apple Pay can also be used by any iOS app as a secure way to accept payment from the user, and again the app developer would not receive any of your payment data, like your credit card information or bank account number. So all the retailers and app developers who are receiving payments from you through Apple Pay can't get hacked and lose your credit card info, because they never have possession of it. If you had a credit card that you never used for anything but Apple Pay the only people who would know your card number would be you and the card issuer. I don't know about you but I'm getting kind of tired of getting a new card every time some odd charge shows up after my number gets stolen from some random retailer getting hacked, so I like the idea of what Apple Pay does behind the scenes.

      But without Touch ID, the quick and accurate fingerprint reader built into Apple's recent iOS devices, yeah, it might be more of an inconvenience. I can't imagine using something that required me to unlock my phone with a password and then waste time finding a specific app to make a payment at a specific retailer. That would be a pain. But that does not describe the experience of using Apple Pay, or using Apple's Wallet (nee Passbook) app for airline boarding passes and whatnot. It's a remarkably painless process once you get the hang of it. At the airport my boarding pass automatically shows up on the lock screen without me doing anything. Just swipe to the right and bam, it pops up. No unlocking the phone, no fumbling about looking for a certain app, no waste of time. It works much better than you imagine.

      --
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      ... Peace out. Got bear stuff to do. 彡ʕ⌐■.■ʔ