This Simple Trick Could Save You Valuable Time at Walmart

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  • Walmart+ members can use Scan & Go to speed up checkout.
  • Items that need to be weighed can't be done through the app, however.
  • Pay with Walmart Pay and present your digital receipt at the door.

No more juggling items at the tiny self checkout.

Many folks love shopping at Walmart because it's convenient. No matter what's on your list, chances are good you can pick it up while also getting your groceries, new socks, and even a new vacuum.

Unfortunately, all that convenience does have a price. Checking out at Walmart is nothing short of an ordeal.

Many Walmart locations have shifted to a system where most registers are self-checkouts. So, if you want to check out with a cashier, you're looking at a long wait. But for some folks, that's better than juggling a full cart at the self-checkout where the size of the tiny bagging area still dwarfs the tiny counter for what needs to be scanned.

If you're one of the millions of shoppers who have a Walmart+ membership, there's an easier way: Scan & Go. This members-only perk can make checking out the easiest part of your shopping trip, instead of the most irritating.

How to use Scan & Go

Essentially, Scan & Go turns your phone into a mobile self-checkout machine. Instead of scanning everything all at once at the end of your trip, you can scan as you go. Bring your reusable shopping bags, and you can have everything scanned and bagged well before you hit the checkout.

To get started with Scan & Go, there are a few things you'll need:

  • A Walmart+ membership: Scan & Go is a feature exclusive to Walmart+ members.
  • A mobile device with a camera: You'll use your device's camera to scan the barcodes on your items. (Make sure your device is charged so it doesn't die in the middle of your shopping trip!)
  • The Walmart app with location access enabled: Scan & Go is found within the Walmart mobile app. Make sure the app has location access permission so it knows which store you're in.
  • An internet connection: You'll need to connect to your mobile data or the store's wifi.
  • A credit or debit card connected to your Walmart account: You'll pay through the app, so be sure you've connected a credit card or debit card to your Walmart Pay account.

Ready to get started? Here's how it works:

  1. Open the Walmart app.
  2. Select Scan & Go from the home screen. If it's not on the home screen for some reason, go to your Account tab. Tap on Walmart+. Click the Benefits tab, then scroll to find the blue "Use Scan & Go'' button.
  3. Start scanning your items. If you're adding more than one of the same thing, you can change the quantity instead of having to scan each item individually.
  4. Once everything is scanned, click View Cart to verify that everything is correct. If something didn't scan right or quantities are wrong, you can fix it now.
  5. Then, hit the blue Check Out button in the app and head over to a self-checkout machine.
  6. Scan the QR code on the screen of the self-checkout machine.
  7. Confirm your payment method.

And you're all set. The app will provide a barcode and digital receipt. When you head out the door, the associate can scan your barcode to check your order, just as they would with a paper receipt if you went through the regular checkout process.

Produce and alcohol can complicate matters

Although Scan & Go can be awesome for reducing wasted time and hassle, it does have a couple of major flaws. Namely, produce and alcohol.

If you're purchasing produce that's pre-packaged, you're fine. But if you buy anything that's priced by weight, you can't do it through the Scan & Go feature. Instead, it needs to be weighed at the self-checkout machine.

Technically, you should be able to use Scan & Go for the rest of your order, then add your weighed produce at the end when you hit the self-checkout and scan the QR code. In practice, this tends to be very buggy. Your best bet may be to complete checkout for your Scan & Go order, then do a second transaction for your loose produce.

Similarly, alcohol purchases typically can't be scanned through Scan & Go due to age restrictions. As with produce, it may be best to complete your Scan & Go order, then purchase any alcohol as a second transaction.

Keep an eye on your total as you shop

Besides saving time, Scan & Go has another feature for those focused on their personal finances: You can see your total in real-time as you shop. No more guessing and rounding to see if you're over your grocery budget. Instead, check what you've spent at any time by viewing your cart.

For those with Walmart+, Scan & Go is a handy perk that can make the Walmart shopping experience significantly less irritating -- especially during busy times, like after work or before holidays. While it does have its drawbacks, the pros certainly outweigh the cons in my book.

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