The global fintech market is one of the fastest growing and potentially profitable emerging markets over the past few years. Since the spark of the pandemic, the demand for contactless payments and banking activities straight from users’ smartphones and computers rose exponentially, opening the space to innovators to enter this competitive space. The opportunity is so prevalent that even companies that previously have no experience in fintech are looking for ways to develop their own services to offer increased convenience and services for their customers. There have been recent rumors surrounding global supermarket giant Walmart that they were in the works developing a fintech platform of their own to be used in their stores, but little was known about what this potential service may be. Earlier this year, Walmart announced that this fintech service will be in partnership with Ribbit Capital, which is a Silicon Valley VC firm focusing heavily on global fintech innovators also working closely with Latin American fintechs. This may be promising news for the future Walmert fintech service, as Latin America is now globally known to be a fintech powerhouse, with many brilliant innovations coming from countries such as Brazil and Argentina. A recent patent filing in the US may give us insight as to the potential name of this service, that being “Hazel by Walmart”.
According to Fox News, “the filing hints at services that the startup is expected to provide, including mobile payments and banking transfers, processing credit, debit, and prepaid card transactions, issuing credit cards, lines of credit and loans, reimbursing fraudulent electronic payments, and providing ‘virtual currency transaction processing.’” This is everything that a fintech startup from a global corporation with the size and resources such as Walmart should have to make a powerful breakthrough in the industry. Mobile payments and banking transfers are some of the key features that most fintechs provide customers, but the news that the patent mentioned virtual currency transaction processing shows that they are aware of the direction the fintech industry is most likely headed in and is allowing those who want to use cryptocurrency as an actual payment method and not just an investment asset the ability to do so. On top of this, their patent states that Hazel will also include financial consulting services as well as tax preparations. According to all this news, it seems that Walmart is not only trying to break into the market in a competitive way, but are looking to become some users’ primary go-to financial services organization.