Will Walmart Beat Apple Pay in Mobile Payments?

November 9, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Not long ago, we discovered that Apple Pay was the leader in mobile payments in the United States, beating out a host of competitors in the field for the title. However, a new report suggests that Apple may not enjoy that top slot much longer, as a major challenger is taking aim: Walmart Pay.

Walmart Pay, currently available in 4,774 stores at last report, has been on a tear, adding new users in the five-figure range per day. Four or five months ago, that number was merely in the four-figure range per day, which represents a step up that’s in the “order of magnitude” range. What’s more, reports note, most users who try it once come back; two out of three users actually use it a second time within 21 days.

Daniel Eckert, senior vice president for services and digital acceleration, noted that, if daily enrollments kept up their current pace, surpassing Apple Pay in popularity would be “…pretty well in the cards shortly.” Eckert also noted that “I would have to imagine we are getting pretty close.”

That’s backed up by an assessment from Crone Consulting LLC CEO Richard Crone, who noted that, at current rates, Apple Pay would be second in terms of active US users to Walmart Pay by the end of 2018. Walmart has been slowing eating away at Apple’s lead since around June, and is now separate by less than one percent, by some reports.

One of the biggest problems for any mobile payments platform is that there’s only so much room on a home screen for apps. Once you start getting more than, say, three mobile payments apps, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Businesses that have their own internal mobile payment app have something of an edge here, as it doesn’t need to be front-of-mind to win; it’s only useful at that business, which is a reminder for the end user.

Walmart Pay is really only useful in Walmart, so as long as Walmart has a horde of shoppers—which it does—it’s going to have a big user base for its app. The more diffuse Apple Pay may not only have a problem in terms of places it’s accepted, but also in terms of users who keep it front and center.