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Walmart Pay begins trickling out to iPhone users via app update

The latest update to retail colossus Walmart's first-party iOS app included a significant new feature — support for Walmart Pay, the company's in-house mobile payments effort.

Walmart Pay is a QR-code based payment system, similar to the stillborn CurrentC option in which Walmart was a partner. The most significant difference comes in payment methods — Walmart Pay does not support direct debit, a tentpole CurrentC feature.

Users are required to create an account on and link a credit or debit card or add a Walmart Gift Card. Subsequently logging in on their mobile device will make that payment method available in the store.

Payment within the app is protected by a four-digit security code, and owners of supported iPhones can choose to boost that protection to include Touch ID. After authenticating, users will be asked to scan the QR code at the register — they will receive an electronic receipt when payment is successful.

In practice, this approach is similar to the long-running Starbucks in-app payment system. Though the coffee chain uses pre-filled wallets and a different variety of barcode, the checkout flow is the same.

Walmart Pay is available in select Walmart stores throughout the U.S., and continues to expand. There is no word yet on exactly which stores are compatible, but the company expects to have full coverage in the U.S. by the end of 2016.

The Walmart app is a free, 48.9-megabyte download from the App Store.