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Walmart unveils mobile pay service, challenging Apple

[WASHINGTON] Walmart on Thursday announced it was launching its own mobile payments service, challenging similar offerings from Apple, Samsung, Google and others.

The world's biggest retailer said it would be adding a feature to its mobile application for Android and iOS handsets to allow consumers to tap and pay at its stores.

It will be introduced at a small number of US stores later this month and rolled out next year across the United States.

"The simplicity and ease of Walmart Pay comes not only from how it works, but also in how it's been built," said Daniel Eckert, a Walmart senior vice president.

"We made a strategic decision to design Walmart Pay to work with almost any smartphone and accept almost any payment type - even allowing for the integration of other mobile wallets in the future. The result is an innovation that will make the ease of mobile payments a reality for millions of Americans." The move comes following the launch last year of Apple Pay for users of iPhones, and others introduced or ramped up from Samsung, Google and PayPal. US banking group JPMorgan Chase and South Korean electronics group LG also are launching mobile pay applications.

Walmart said some 22 million customers currently use its mobile application, which will be upgraded to include the mobile payment feature.

The new service will connect to the handset camera, which will scan a code displayed at the register to complete the transaction and deliver an electronic receipt.

The mobile payment feature "was built to make shopping faster and easier," said Neil Ashe, head of Walmart Global eCommerce.