A UK-based Walmart subsidiary is testing Apple Pay in some of its stores, reports MacRumors. The Asda supermarket chain has confirmed the trials, but hasn’t elaborated on any plans to implement widespread support for the mobile payment platform.
It’s a remarkable development given Walmart’s hostility to Apple Pay. Having pioneered the stalled Apple Pay rival CurrentC, Walmart has persisted in refusing to accept the mPayment service at its retail stores, and recently launched its own alternative mPayment service, Walmart Pay.
The Asda trials may signal a thaw in relations, in a trend that is somewhat reminiscent of Apple’s relationship with Australian bank ANZ. Like its other major domestic rivals, ANZ was initially opposed to Apple Pay when the platform began to make inroads in the country; but this year it defected from its coalition of allies to offer Apple Pay support, and has seen online account applications rise as a result.
Given Apple Pay’s growing popularity and ease of use, especially when its NFC technology is compared against Walmart Pay’s more awkward QR code scanning, there will likely be persistent demand among some Walmart customers for Apple Pay support, and the current Asda trials may indicate that Walmart is preparing to answer such demand. On the other hand, the support could end up being restricted to Asda, or the supermarket may decide not to go ahead with it after all – for now, the company isn’t tipping its hand.