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Wal-Mart testing mobile checkout to cut time in lines

Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is testing out a new checkout system that enables shoppers to avoid long lines and scan items in store aisles using their smartphones.

The world’s biggest retailer said that employees have been testing the Scan and Go service at one store in Arkansas, the Wall Street Journal reported. The new system may cut the time it takes to shoppers to scan items but does not allow customers to pay for their purchases via smartphone.

The service has not yet been rolled out to shoppers, but Wal-Mart sent employees e-mails this week offering $100 and a $25 Wal-Mart gift card if they went to a supercenter near the retailer’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to test out the service, the Journal reported. The company said it wanted to get comments from “real people on whether this new system is user-friendly,” the report said.

The experiment comes at a time when many retailers have been testing more tech-forward methods of payment. Online payment service PayPal inked a deal with Discover earlier this year to offer an in-store payment system that is already accepted at thousands of store locations of retailers including Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Jamba Juice and more.

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Evolving payment methods have attracted payment system Square -- which uses a small device to turn a tablet computer or smartphone into a credit card reader -- as well as Google Wallet and other mobile apps.

In March, Charles Holley, Wal-Mart’s chief financial officer, announced plans to build additional self-checkout lanes so shoppers can avoid cashiers in favor of scanning and bagging their own purchases.
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