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Walmart moves to eliminate cash transactions at stores

28 February 2017

Walmart yesterday launched a new initiative in its drive towards zero-cash at its stores.

The world's largest retailer has added a new feature to its mobile app, which would allow its pharmacy and money services customers to beat long queues, The Street reported.

Whether it was about refilling a prescription or wiring money, all tasks could be done without paperwork and checking prescriptions before stepping into the store, the report said.

Walmart said while customers would still need to visit the store to pick up prescriptions and verify payments made through money services, express lanes would be set up to cut waiting times to as little as 40 seconds as against six to 11 minutes at present.

The app and express lanes would be introduced at 1,200 locations in March,  and extended to 4,700 US stores by the fall.

"The need to save time has become just as important as the need to save money," Daniel Eckert, senior VP of Walmart Services, said yesterday, adding that the company's $4 prescription programme, which was already in place had saved customers nearly $5 billion.

Pharmacy customers would need to click on "prescription ready for pickup" and either create a pin or use Touch ID to activate the camera and snap a picture of their prescription.

When they go to the store to collect their delivery, using the express lane, they scan the code they are given on the app at the register and their medicine would be delivered by a Walmart employee.

With this feature, users would be able to sign off on medical forms and view prescription pricing on the application, Wal-Mart said today.

The software formed part of Walmart's efforts to improve the experience at its 4,700 US stores, which had been hit with stocking problems and disorganisation in recent years.

Additionally, the app would work with the retailer's 1,200 wire-transfer centres, letting customers cash checks, pay bills and send money without paperwork.

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