US retailing giant Walmart is to launch a payment service this month in competition with the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung with availability across its US stores by the first half of next year.

Walmart Pay enables shoppers to pay in-store with any iOS or Android smartphones and will work with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card.

The service becomes available in select stores in December before widespread deployment in 2016.

The retailing giant is adding the payment service as a feature to its existing app which is actively used by 22 million customers each month and ranks among the top three retail apps in the Google and Apple app stores, the retailer said.

Walmart Pay claims to be the only service that works with any iOS or Android device. This is because Walmart Pay is based on QR codes rather than NFC which is not present on all smartphones, particularly Apple ones.

At checkout, users open the Walmart app and choose the pay feature. They then open the camera on their smartphone. During the checkout process, users scan the code displayed at the cash register with their phones, while the sale assistants scan and bag their shopping. Afterwards, an electronic receipt is sent to the app and can be viewed by the customer.

Walmart has been trialling its QR code technology for payments for some time but has been slow to bring it to market. The retailing giant is the leading light behind the retailer-backed CurrentC which extended a pilot of its own mobile payment service in October.