With the evolution of the payment landscape and constant change these days the main question is what kind of solutions can we use in every single store. According to Walmart executive Mike Cook, it will not be a payment method support by NFC, nor will it be Google Wallet. This announcement narrows down the field and leaves Bitcoin as one of the possible options.
Google Wallet And NFC Payments Not Welcome At Walmart
Walmart is one the biggest brands in the United States and the chain of stores has even taken on an international appeal over the course of recent years. Whenever a new payment solution is launched, it is key for them to get accepted by major brands such as Walmart. For those consumers hoping to use Google Wallet in their nearby Walmart store, they will not be able to do so anytime soon.
Mike Cook stated how, as of now, there is “no valid reason to add another player to Walmart transactions”. As you would come to expect from such a large brand, the lion share of transactions is done either in cash or through plastic cards. Despite both payment options bringing costs and risks with them, they seem to work fine for Walmart. That is, for the time being.
By the looks of things, Walmart Executive Mike Cook is of the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality. While this is a powerful business trait to have, turning a blind eye to innovation in the payment industry might not be the smartest decision right now. But that isn’t the plan, as Walmart is putting a lot of effort behind Merchant Customer Exchange, a merchant-backed effort to create a mobile payment platform.
“Merchant Customer Exchange [MCX] is more effective. One of the principles of MCX is that we wouldn’t just replicate the fraud prone system that’s out there today. Embedding payment credentials in a secure element, the approach taken by Isis, is no better than the current payment system that costs merchants millions of dollars a year on data security compliance.”
Furthermore, Mr. Cook was pretty vocal regarding the future of NFC-enabled payment methods which, to him, don’t hold much potential or value right now. In fact, there is little to no private equity funding following any venture into the world of NFC payments, despite the technology being widely available to customers all over the world.
While NFC may offer many benefits such as locating lost devices or enabling home automation up to a certain extent, its usefulness in the payment sector remains questionable. Various plastic card issuers are experimenting with contactless payments through NFC, but the transaction amounts are far too limited to make it a viable, mainstream payment solution in the near future.
An Opportunity For Bitcoin Payments?
One of the topics not being touched upon is whether or not Walmart will ever start accepting Bitcoin payments. Bitcoin has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years and Walmart would not need to enable any additional infrastructure to accept digital currency payments. Plus, they would be saving a fair amount of transaction overhead costs as well.
For the time being, Bitcoin users can pay indirectly with digital currency at locations such as Walmart. By using one of the many Bitcoin debit cards available today, spending Bitcoin wherever plastic cards are accepted becomes a breeze.
Source: Mobile Payments Today
Images courtesy of Walmart, Shutterstock, Google Wallet
Also published on Medium.