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Target Pay to Launch This Year?

January 26, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Target has long existed in something of its own market. More wallet-friendly than Macy’s or Nordstrom, better quality than Walmart. It’s been a jack of all trades and a master of none in the retail space, and it’s taken some lumps along the way.

Recently, word emerged that a new mobile payments capability could be coming to the system by the end of this year, and it may be built into Target’s current Cartwheel app.

The Cartwheel app has already delivered in a big way for both Target and its shoppers; over the last three years, it’s been used by around 27 million shopper and been used to produce a combined total savings of better than half a billion dollars, better than $600 million at last report.

Now, reports suggest, the app could take the next reasonable step and incorporate the means to pay right in the same place as the means to save money to begin with.

It may not hit Cartwheel first, however, or even immediately. Target actually put out word saying the offer would first go to REDcard holders.

While this doesn’t mean no extra features for Cartwheel, it does suggest Cartwheel will at least go wanting for a while. With Walmart and Kohl’s—both major competitors in Target’s market—offering mobile payment options, it was clear that Target had to step up its game to match.

A move to REDcard would be welcome, though nothing particularly aggressive. It would be regarded almost as a perk rather than a serious foray into mobile payments. A connection to Cartwheel, though, would ramp things up significantly, and make it clear that Target was taking mobile payments seriously.

Though that may not be as much of a help as Target might like—we’ve already seen that consumers will only use a handful of mobile payments systems before mostly giving up—the idea of a store-specific brand connected to a tool customers are already using to great effect couldn’t hurt the store’s prospects.

Only time will tell just how well this turns out, but Target might have a good path toward handling some of its own payment processing, a development that could give it a real boost in the market.