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Competitive prices, a customer-friendly return policy, and branches practically on every corner—Walmart has a lot going for it.
But one thing that many shoppers really need today is a solid digital payment system, like the hassle-free Apple Pay. So, does Walmart take Apple Pay?
The short answer? No, you won’t be able to use Apple Pay at Walmart, at least not in the US.
Why is that, and what alternatives do you have? That’s what I set out to find!
- Walmart Has Its Own Payment Solution. The big box retailer doesn’t accept Apple Pay and pushes Walmart Pay instead.
- There’s a Workaround. You can use Apple Cards with the Walmart App.
- Things Are Different in the Great White North. Walmart Canada accepts Apple Pay.
Why Walmart Is Holding Back
Apple Pay has made its way to restaurants, apparel stores, gas stations, and even Uber rides. It’s convenient, and I’ll admit that the 2% cash back is pretty sweet, too.
So, it would be nice if you could use Apple Pay to grab this week’s groceries from a big box store like Walmart. Unfortunately, that’s not possible.
Why is that? Well, it’s not because the company doesn’t want to offer its customers convenient mobile payment options—it does.
However, it looks like Walmart wants a cut of the $965.9 billion mobile payment market. To do that, the retailer has its own contactless payment system: Walmart Pay.
I’ll dig into the payment feature in more detail later. But for now, all you need to know is that Walmart Pay is a QR-based solution integrated into the Walmart App.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why Walmart would ban Apple Pay in its stores. In a way, it’s a competitor to their payment solution.
In fact, Walmart doesn’t support Google Pay or Samsung Pay, either. Basically, any Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment is not an option.
Other Possible Reasons
Some folks have other theories about Walmart’s NFC ban.
For instance, there’s the “tracking” theory. You see, to use Walmart Pay, you have to sign into Walmart’s App. This means that the company has a better chance of tracking your purchases and collecting your data, which it couldn’t do if you were to use Apple Pay instead.
Others believe that Walmart is doing this to avoid the extra fees.
Insights Into the Company’s Policies
It’s worth noting that Walmart did consider incorporating Apple Pay into its app. The discussion between the two companies was going on up until 2016. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out.
What’s even more interesting is that Walmart Canada actually gave in and started accepting Apple Pay. That was back in 2020, and the US counterpart has yet to get with the times and yield to the rising demands of its customers.
How Walmart Shoppers Get Around the NFC Ban
Maybe Walmart US will follow the lead of its Canadian sibling and accept Apple Pay. Maybe it never will.
In the meantime, you might be looking for a workaround. So am I. So, let’s check out the tricks and hacks other shoppers are using.
Using Apple Card
The retailer is definitely not NFC-friendly, but it has nothing against physical cards. You can use this to your advantage by adding your Apple Card as a payment method on the Walmart App.
If you don’t have a card yet, you’ll want to see if you’re eligible and apply for one through the Wallet app on your iPhone first. If all goes well, download the Walmart App and create an account.
Note: You don’t need a Walmart+ subscription for this hack.
Next, open the “Wallet” section in the Walmart app and choose “Add new payment method.” You should find an option for credit/debit cards where you can enter your Apple Card info.
Once you’re in the store and ready for checkout, use Walmart Pay’s QR code at the register, and your payment will be processed through Apple Card.
The Ibotta Hack
Theoretically, you can use Ibotta as a bridge between Apple Pay and Walmart. You’ll shop around Walmart, and once you’re at the register, you’ll buy an Ibotta gift card for the exact checkout total and give the card code to the cashier.
That said, this hack popped up on Reddit forums around four years ago. Some people reported that the Ibotta feature was no longer working on their phones. So, you might be better off resorting to the Apple Card method instead.
Walmart Pay vs. Apple Pay
As we’ve seen, the “workarounds” aren’t exactly straightforward. Even the best option requires downloading the Walmart App. I’d say you might as well consider using the app the way it was intended—with the Walmart Pay feature.
Before you do that, you might want to prepare yourself for some key differences between the two payment solutions.
Apple Pay uses NFC technology to connect your iPhone (or Apple Watch) to the payment terminal at the register. You just need to hold the phone next to the card reader.
On the other hand, Walmart Pay generates QR codes that the cashiers (or you if you’re going for self-checkout) need to scan in order to process the payments. It’s technically contactless, but some shoppers still prefer the hassle-free NFC alternatives.
One perk that comes to mind is that Walmart Pay is more inclusive. Android users can download the app, too.
Other Walmart App Payment Options: Scan and Go
If you do have a Walmart+ membership (you can get a FREE trial), it’s possible to skip Walmart Pay and its QR codes altogether.
You can walk into the store and use the “Scan & Go” feature in the Walmart App to scan items as you physically put them into your cart. This way, you’ll be able to checkout without hitting any register. After all, the app already knows what’s in your cart and will charge you accordingly.
Some people are hopeful that Apple Pay support will roll out in the 4,600+ Walmart locations across the US in the near future. Others say that it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Either way, you might want to give the QR-based Walmart Pay a shot. There’s a potential for a 5% cash-back introductory offer if you use the feature with a rewards card.