Target Wallet Gives Target New Mobile Payments Leverage

December 7, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Target has officially thrown down the gauntlet, rolling out its “Wallet” function as part of the official Target app. With this rollout comes several new features for the end user as well as one potentially big shakeup for the overall mobile payments market.

The new wallet function allows users to not only make payments in store using their Android or iOS smartphone, but it also allows users to use the Cartwheel digital coupons and assorted discounts currently offered just from one scan of the device’s displayed barcode.

Cartwheel worked like this previously, but with the new functionality, users can pay from the same platform they filed their coupons with using a Target REDcard. Since the REDcard also functions as a debit card that connects to both customer bank accounts and a store credit line—even giving five percent back on purchases—it’s a versatile offering.

Granted, it’s also one among many; Target’s Wallet system will be competing directly against Walmart Pay, Kohl’s Pay, and to a lesser extent, CVS Pay. About the only real difference is that Target didn’t slap its own name followed by “Pay” to title the app.

Target’s chief information—and chief digital—officer Mike McNamara noted “Wallet in the Target app makes checkout easier and faster than ever. Guests are going to love the convenience of having payment, Cartwheel offers, weekly ad coupons and giftcards all in one place with Wallet.”

Target gets some serious points here thanks to the sheer range of options involved. Nothing it’s doing is particularly groundbreaking, but it does seem to be covering all the bases for a mobile payment system. It’s offering payments, yes, but it’s also incorporating loyalty features and helping users keep coupons handy and in one place. For a place like Target, where the discounts and markdowns change weekly, that could be a big selling point for current shoppers. It’s not especially likely to pull in new shoppers, but it should help cement the base, if nothing else.

There aren’t any major advances here, but Target’s new hand should be good enough for table stakes, and at least buy it some time to come up with something sufficiently innovative to distinguish itself from the crowd.