Walmart Inc. will start next spring allowing customers in Canada to pay with debit in-app and in-browser using wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, the Canadian national payments network Interac announced Tuesday. Interac positions the new service as enabling so-called proprietary wallets, which it confirmed includes the apps from Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit. Walmart has already started introducing Interac Flash, the national payment network’s contactless payment technology, at its in-store payment terminals, Interac said.
The move represents a departure from Walmart’s policy in the U.S. market, where its 11,000 stores do not accept mobile wallets other than the retailer’s own Walmart Pay app. Walmart’s Canadian stores have not yet adopted Walmart Pay, which Walmart introduced in December 2015. The service became available chainwide in the United States the following summer.
Tuesday’s announcements represent a significant expansion for Walmart of its relationship with Canada’s national payments network. The Bentonville, Ark.-based merchandising giant operates more than 400 stores in Canada.
“Walmart Canada is very excited to now offer Interac debit and provide more convenient and contactless ways for customers to check out in-store and online,” said Nicolai Salcedo, Walmart Canada’s chief information officer, in a statement. “We listen to our customers and want them to have even more choices for how they pay for their items. This is part of our ongoing effort to make shopping at Walmart easy, safe and seamless, especially during these challenging times.”
In the U.S. market, Walmart has historically maintained a wary relationship with Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., though the brands are included in Walmart Pay along with the retailer’s gift card. The service links to the point of sale via a QR code scan.
Interac says its debit service for in-app and in-browser payments via proprietary wallets offers what the network calls near-real time transactions “with no chargebacks.” Other merchants accepting the service include Shell, McDonald’s, Skip the Dishes and Presto. Skip the Dishes is an 8-year-old, Winnipeg-based online ordering and food-delivery service. Presto is a contactless fare-payment service for public transit.
Nearly 300 financial institutions link to Interac. The network last year processed 6.2 billion debit transactions for an average of 25.5 million monthly active users.