The Reason You Can't Use Apple Pay At Walmart

Though the technology hasn't yet completely taken over day-to-day purchases, in-person payments made wirelessly using a smartphone with NFC and a mobile payment service are considerably faster than swiping or inserting a card. There are multiple mobile payment services on the market, including the version offered by Apple — it's simply called Apple Pay, and you need an iPhone or Apple Watch to use it.

Apple Pay is available on the iPhone 6 and newer models (via Chase), but having a compatible handset is only half of the battle. You can only use Apple Pay at a point-of-sale (POS) terminal that supports the technology, and even then, it'll only work if the company has the feature enabled and supports the platform. Walmart, despite its size and global presence, still lacks support for Apple's tap-to-pay service at the time of this writing. The odds are high that the lack of support won't change unless the company gives up on its own alternative payment solution first.

Walmart has its own payment alternative called Walmart Pay

The early days of any new technology are marked by companies competing to get their own versions of the tech into the hands of consumers. Years ago, companies made cell phones that used their own proprietary charger connectors; go back decades, and you'll find companies that battled over home entertainment with different implementations of tape and disc technologies. It seems all but inevitable that big corporations will eventually lay down their swords, work together, and agree to adopt the same universal standard — though some companies are more stubborn than others.

Things are more or less the same when it comes to tap-and-go mobile-based payments, which are still something of a novelty when you look beyond Gen Z and tech enthusiasts. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay are three popular tap-and-pay options all sequestered in their own walled gardens. You can't use Apple Pay if you're an Android user, you can't use Samsung Pay if you have an iPhone, and amid all of this, you can't use either option to shop at a business that has no interest in supporting them.

Rather than opening the doors to Apple Pay, Walmart has remained steadfast in its decision to exclude the iPhone-based tap-and-go payment service and instead hawk its own alternative called — you guessed it — Walmart Pay (via MacRumors). Anyone who has a smartphone can use Walmart Pay regardless of whether it's an iPhone, a flagship Android model, or a budget-tier handset. However, Walmart Pay works in a fundamentally different way, and it forces customers to install yet another app on their phones.

What is Walmart Pay?

Walmart Pay is a feature found within the main Walmart app, meaning if you already have it installed, all you need to do is set it up. This involves tapping the Walmart Pay icon within the app, entering the details for the card you want to use to pay, and saving it to your account (via Walmart). After scanning your products at Walmart, you're given multiple ways to pay: you can do it the ordinary ways with cash or by inserting a card, or you can scan a QR code presented on the checkout screen to pay digitally using the card you have on file through the Walmart app.

There is an advantage to paying this way over Apple Pay: the transaction is recorded in your Walmart account, and you have quick access to all of the cards you've saved to that account. You also get an electronic receipt that is tied to your account so you don't have to worry about keeping track of a slip of paper. The downside, however, is that you have to install the Walmart app and fire it up whenever checking out at the store. That may be less than ideal if you're a diehard Apple user who wants to keep all of their transactions contained within the Apple ecosystem.