Your friendly neighborhood Walmart may be getting even closer to "getting with the times." And in fact, surging beyond them. To date, few stores have really, truly embraced mobile payments. And perhaps even fewer have even considered smartphone integration with the buying process. But the mega-retailer Walmart is reportedly testing a new system that could enable shoppers to scan items as they browse using an iPhone, and then pay at a self-checkout counter based on what they've scanned in the store. It's a shifting of the process; today, the self-checkout lane makes you scan everything as you exit, but it'd go much faster if you scanned as you shopped. The idea is obviously being considered in order to reduce checkout line wait times, and maybe even reduce costs for retailers at large.
If Walmart is successful with it, you can bet that other small and medium-sized retailers, as well as rivals like Target, will be paying attention. Interestingly, the program is not yet set up to allow people to actually pay for their goods via the phone. But with things like Square and PayPal Here already on the market, it's probably just a matter of time before that leap is made. Walmart isn't saying when or where it really plans to implement the program, but it probably wouldn't be spending money on the testing if it didn't have big plans.