Does Walmart Take Apple Pay?

An Apple to Pay? Walmart keeps it at bay
Updated
A Walmart store in the daytime

In the modern era of shopping convenience, our guide to Walmart's Apple Pay policy should help you navigate the busy aisles of one of the world's largest retail giants, where it's vital to know if your preferred method of payment is compatible. As technology continues to revolutionize the way we shop, digital wallets like Apple Pay offer a seamless and secure way to make transactions. But the question that brought you here is: Can you use Apple Pay at Walmart?

While the short answer is "Not exactly", this article will explore some possible workarounds to make using Apple Pay a viable option. We'll examine the evolving landscape of digital payments, to give you an overview of your choices for digital payments at Walmart, and figure out why Walmart would prefer you to pay through their own Walmart Pay app. Whether you're already an avid Apple enthusiast looking to streamline your checkout experience or a curious consumer exploring new ways to pay, Apple Pay has quickly become one of the most popular ways to pay at countless stores across the country, so a full understanding of Walmart's stance on Apple Pay could save you some unwelcome frustration come checkout time.

Join us as we dive deep into the exciting realm of payment options, uncovering everything you need to know about Walmart's approach to Apple Pay. From understanding their dedication to their Walmart Pay app to discovering insider tips for maximizing your shopping experience, we're here to empower you with the knowledge and insights to shop smarter and more efficiently. So let's go ahead and demystify the world of Walmart and Apple Pay.

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Walmart's Stance on Apple Pay

The bad news needs to be restated upfront: If all you need to know is "Can I use Apple Pay at Walmart", the answer is no. At least not in the simple, no-fuss manner you've come to expect, the way other retailers do. Getting to the checkout and attempting to use Apple Pay directly will result in a frustrated and/or apologetic cashier, or at least an uncooperative self-checkout machine. They're one of the few stores to abstain from allowing you to use it as such, and we'll tell you for why.

So: why doesn't Walmart take Apple Pay? The answer is that Walmart has their own digital payment platform, the Walmart Pay app. It's an iOS and Android app that stores your debit, credit, and Walmart gift card information, and also lets you access e-receipts for an easier returns process. It offers a range of options for paying with your phone in-store at Walmart, but importantly, those options are all accessed through the Walmart Pay app, rather than being used via their own applications. The Walmart Pay app scans QR codes displayed on checkout PIN pads, rather than using near-field communication (NFC) like many payment apps. The customer's financial information isn't shared between the app and the checkout, it stays secure in the app, which simply signals to the checkout that payment has been approved.

This ideally serves several purposes, both for Walmart and the customer. First, it should keep customers' payment details more secure. (The app uses the same Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption that all your most trusted online stores use.) It also means your transactions are all logged in the app, so if you ever need to present a receipt, no external apps need to be involved - it's all kept in-house. This also means that Walmart can avoid paying the third-party fees that come with services like Apple Pay, which (nominally, cough) means they can keep prices slightly lower. It means the customer has the convenience of their payment options all being contained in a single app, although this is of course subjective. Finally, it means the company can easily track consumer spending patterns and behavior, which means they should be able to present customers with an improved shopping experience, but mostly probably just adds an extra name to the list of things keeping an eye on your digital footprint these days. Brr.

The Workaround: Using Apple Card with Walmart Pay

Now the good news! The good news is that if you're determined to use Apple Pay at Walmart, there is a workaround. All it requires is that you put your Apple Pay details into the Walmart Pay app, and then you can sit back and watch Walmart accept Apple Pay like any other payment option. Could someone argue that this means the answer to "Can you use Apple Pay at Walmart?" is, in fact, "yes"? Yes. But it's important for people to come into the arrangement understanding that there are qualifiers. Anyway.

Our guide how to use Apple Pay at Walmart via the Walmart Pay app goes as follows:

  1. Download and install the Walmart Pay app. There's a QR code on this page that should take care of that for you.
  2. Sign into an existing account, or if that's not something that exists, create a new account.
  3. In the Walmart Pay app, go to the "Account" tab (usually in the bottom right-hand corner), and select the Wallet option to manage your payment methods.
  4. Use the option to add a new payment method. When asked for the type of payment method you're working with, choose the Credit/Debit Card option.
  5. Enter your Apple Card details as you would any other card, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. Bingo. Done.

Go to Walmart and attempt to buy things. We'll leave the actual contents of your basket or cart up to you, that's really none of our concern. When asked for payment by the cashier or self-checkout machine, choose Walmart Pay, and select your Apple Card. This is how Walmart and Apple Pay can be made to play nicely together. It's a process, and you must trust it.

Accepted Payment Methods at Walmart

The payment options don't start and end with a slightly convoluted process of making Walmart accept Apple Pay, of course. This would be a terrible business model, almost on par with only accepting disgraced digital NFT apes as payment, which I'm sure some store has tried at least once. So instead of wondering "Why doesn't Walmart take Apple Pay?", and then finding out that after a little tinkering, it does, perhaps we should spend at least a little time asking what other methods you can use to pay at Walmart. And so we'll do that now.

  • Cash: Cold hard cash will never go out of style. Of course, they said that about NFT apes. And now look at them. But legal tender is legal until declared otherwise, and remains a perfectly valid way of satisfying Walmart's eminently reasonable demand that you pay for your goods in-store.
  • EBT Cards: Customers in participating states can use EBT cards to pay for eligible items with SNAP benefits.
  • Debit and Credit Cards: Some might consider this to be stating the obvious, but if you've spent even twelve seconds online, you'll know how important it can be to make the obvious even more obvious than it was before. And so: debit and credit cards can be used to pay for things, both in-store and online. Knowledge is power.
  • Gift Cards: Gift cards aren't just pretty pictures with some numbers on them - they're a big part of Walmart's payment ecosystem and can be used both in-store and online. Although once they're used up, they are just pretty pictures with some numbers on them, so beware. Of that.
  • PayPal: The popular online payment service can be used for both online and in-store purchases.
  • Affirm: Eligible items can be financed over time using Affirm. Get more info on Affirm here, and read more about Walmart's layaway policy here.
  • Refund Credit: If you've been awarded a credit from a refund or return, you can put towards any purchase at Walmart. Click here to read more about the Walmart returns process.
  • Capital One Walmart Credit Cards: This broadly falls under the "of course credit cards can be used to buy things" explanation above, but this Walmart credit card gives 5% cash back at Walmart.com (including pickup and delivery), 2% cash back in Walmart stores and fuel stations, as well as at restaurants and on travel, and 1% cash back everywhere else Mastercard is accepted.
  • Benefit Cards for Eligible Items: Certain benefit cards can be used for qualifying purchases.
  • Health Spending Accounts (HSA) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) Cards: For certain eligible health-related purchases, these cards can be used.

Because of their push to unify their digital wallet payments under Walmart Pay, other services like Google Wallet (especially ones that use NFC technology) are not accepted at Walmart. But remember: cash is! Good old cash. Overdue for a comeback.

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Consumer Responses and Market Impact

Customers naturally have a hard time understanding why Walmart doesn't have Apple Pay as an accepted payment method outright (without going through the Walmart Pay workaround), when the vast majority of other retailers accept it without question. People have gone viral on TikTok for crying over Walmart's policy (which seems like an overreaction, but I'd never claim to understand TikTok). It's also a popular topic for online discussion on sites like Reddit, where people have come up with their own workarounds, including using the cash back app Ibotta as another unofficial way to get around Walmart's Apple Pay complications. (This adds extra cash back earnings to the 2% cash back you get with any Apple Card payment at Walmart. Importantly, I haven't used Ibotta, so don't take this as any kind of official DealNews endorsement.)

Does this policy affect Walmart's overall standing in the market? It's difficult to see how such an established store could feel much of an impact from a single point of friction like this, although in a rapidly-changing world, it's important for any company to stay on top of market trends, and Walmart have already held out against this particular trend for an unusually long time. Their decision to stick with their Walmart Pay app gives them certain advantages which may outweigh the benefits of affording their customers the convenience of using Apple Pay at Walmart directly. Customers have definitely voiced their objections online, but Walmart's strong positioning is, for now, probably not in much danger. (And realistically, using Walmart Pay isn't so much more inconvenient.)

Comparison with Other Retailers

One reason Walmart might consider accepting Apple Pay in the future is that, broadly, they're out of step with the vast majority of retailers at this point. Apple claims that Apple Pay is accepted at over 85% of retailers in the US, and can be used everywhere from vending machines and grocery stores to taxis and subway stations. It's valid to wonder why Walmart doesn't take Apple Pay directly, when the likes of Target, Best Buy, CVS, Staples, Lowe's, and Kohl's do, not to mention restaurants like McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Wendy's (surge pricing or not), and Burger King.

Walmart isn't the only holdout on accepting Apple Pay, though. Home Depot partnered with PayPal, and now doesn't accept either Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Arby's, Applebees, and Hobby Lobby also don't accept Apple Pay. Kroger used to have a policy similar to Walmart's, even having their own Kroger Pay app as an alternative, but last year reports started emerging that they would begin accepting Apple Pay in its stores.

Future of Digital Payments at Walmart

As of January of this year, DigitalTrends were confident in saying about Walmart that "it seems like it never will" accept Apple Pay directly. Analysts seem reasonably convinced that Walmart's decision to process all digital payments through their Walmart Pay app will remain their policy for the foreseeable future. This is even as they offer their Walmart+ members digital conveniences like Scan and Go, which allows you to ring up items with your phone as you shop, then pay by scanning a QR code on a self-checkout display. Walmart's Apple Pay policy is here to say for now, but as ever, a slightly lower-than-expected number on a quarterly report could change everything at a moment's notice, so keep your eyes peeled for any updates on this matter.

Conclusion

So for now, the answer to the question "Can you use Apple Pay at Walmart?" is a qualified "No". They prefer to funnel you through the Walmart Pay app, which brings its own conveniences and drawbacks for the customer. It could be seen to be an attempt to keep prices down, an attempt to keep more secure control over their payment processes, or both. In any case, we've detailed the available workaround above, and by using this, you have a roundabout way of using Apple Pay at Walmart, albeit with the added step of using their app. Whether or not the process gets streamlined in the future, you have at least one method to make Walmart accept Apple Pay.

While shopping in-store at Walmart is obviously convenient enough, shopping online allows a more thorough price-comparison process for more considered purchases. Walmart may have great deals on many items, but it's always worth checking competitors like Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and others to make sure you're getting the most bang for your virtual buck. And while you may have to pay for delivery (on orders under $35, at least), you do avoid having to leave your sofa and make eye contact with other people, which we always heartily recommend.

In the meantime, to make sure you're getting the best deals at Walmart, we recommend creating DealNews deal alerts for the store so we can reach out to you with their latest and greatest discounts. You can also sign up for our DealNews Select newsletter, where Walmart's a regular fixture in our collection of the day's best deals. You can create a DealNews profile in order to tailor your website experience to better reflect your interests, or you can download the DealNews app to make sure our deals come with you wherever you go. And finally, you can simply browse to our Walmart page for a comprehensive run-down of the store's best ongoing deals.

Alan Byrne
Editor

Alan was recently named "The New Face of DealNews™" by himself, which is a step up from his previous title, "The King of the Run-on Sentence", although this latter – equally unofficial – title clearly remains the more accurate by some distance. He's a Dublin-based editor for this very website.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).

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