Morning Brief 8.25.20: Amazon Go may be coming to Whole Foods

Register now

The information you need to start your day, from PaymentsSource and around the web:

Whole checkout

Amazon reportedly plans to deploy the cashierless technology from its Go stores in its Whole Foods chain by the second quarter of 2021, the most aggressive expansion yet for Amazon's checkout-free tech, which has mostly been deployed in smaller, custom stores.

It's one of the final projects for Jeff Wilke, the CEO of Amazon's worldwide consumer division, reports The Verge. Wilke is retiring in early 2021 and will be replaced by Dave Clark. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

Amazon has been working on adding its Go technology to larger stores, a move that could include shopping malls. Amazon is additionally testing checkout-free technology in shopping carts in an attempt to reach larger footprints.

Wide net

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's study of digitizing government money has accelerated with an evaluation of more than 30 blockchain networks to see if any could support a digital dollar.

The Boston Fed is considering both open source and private ledgers and is gauging scalability, privacy and the ability to resist cyber attacks, reports Coindesk. The work is part of a joint project with MIT to build and test central bank digital currency (CBDC) concepts.

The U.S. has not announced it's working on a CBDC, though it's likely, given the advancement in other countries such as China and private sector interest in CBDCs from firms such as Visa.

More than one way

Buoyed by a jump in government disbursement payments during the economic crisis, numerous countries are working on central bank digital currencies, but there are different approaches that rely on the maturity of payments technology.

In countries with a large percentage of digital payment usage and declining cash and checks, central banks are concerned about ensuring access to public sector payments, reports Finextra, citing research from the Bank for International Settlements. For emerging economies, the concern is more about bringing people into the financial system, which is considered safer and potentially more sanitary than all-cash economies.

Central bank digital currencies are also seen as a way to counter large technology firms that produce or collect massive amounts of consumer data. Digital currencies are also a route to improve digital ID.

Wallet debut

The Bank of Ireland has made its initial foray into mobile payments with Google Pay providing the primary support.

The bank will use Google's app to support personal debit, credit and business debit cards, enabling a range of consumers and businesses. Contactless and in-app payments in stores will also be covered, allowing the bank to reach consumers who have moved to digital payments in droves since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The support is part of a broader strategy at the Bank of Ireland to push digital financial services including digital account opening, flat-fee subscriptions that allow unlimited contactless payments and ATM use.

From the Web

Alibaba's Ant Group files for blockbuster Hong Kong, Shanghai dual listing
REUTERS | Tuesday Aug 25, 2020
Ant Group, Alibaba's fintech arm and China's dominant mobile payments firm, filed for a dual listing in Hong Kong and on Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market on Tuesday and could raise as much as $30 billion in what would be the world's largest IPO.

Mastercard acquired and shut down IfOnly, an experiences marketplace hit by COVID-19
TECHCRUNCH | Monday Aug 24, 2020
Mastercard told TechCrunch that it has folded the tech and team into Priceless — its own experiences marketplace — after initially leading a strategic investment in the company in 2018.

Peter Thiel-backed workplace app Asana files for direct listing on NYSE
REUTERS | Monday Aug 24, 2020
Workplace app Asana Inc on Monday unveiled plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange through a direct listing, adding to a growing number of tech companies debuting this year.

More from PaymentsSource

There's too much legacy tech, and that won't cut it in a digital world
The digital banking and payments wave needs more cloud computing and less hardware, says Ripple's Marcus Treacher.

How the U.S. postal service could live on as a payments hub
The 2020 election has tossed the U.S. Postal Service under extreme scrutiny, pressuring the institution at a time when it has become a potential catalyst for financial inclusion.

PayPal vows action after advocates flag ties to unaccredited schools
A borrower advocacy group is asking federal banking regulators to investigate PayPal and Synchrony Financial, which partner on a product that is used to offer high-cost education financing.

Citizens Bank sees point of sale credit getting 'close' to credit, debit cards in usage
Part of the coronavirus’s economic story is the sudden boom in installment payment services — a sure sign of consumers and merchants wanting a haven from revolving debt. But the rush to simpler credit is also a reflection of how the crisis has changed the way people are living and managing their lives.

EML, Laybuy to deliver pay later service in Australia, then U.K.
Brisbane, Australia-based EML has partnered with the New Zealand buy now, pay later (BNPL) fintech Laybuy to leverage digital cards for in-store and online retail purchases.

T-Mobile extends its mobile money program to Sprint customers
T-Mobile is extending the perks of its Money program to customers of Sprint, the rival telecom provider with which it merged in April. Before the merger, Sprint had about 54 million customers and T-Mobile had around 98 million customers.

FedNow? More like FedLate.
The Federal Reserve is four-square for its own instant-payments system, dubbed FedNow, even though the final implementation schedule suggests it might better be called FedLate.

Coronavirus is the gateway for digital ID and transactions, and banks must lead
The move online has given consumers more comfort with automated channels, writes Mobey Forum's Elina Mattila.

Why NCR is taking supermarket tech down a different path than Amazon Go
The “Just walk out” technology Amazon Go stores introduced a few years ago was revolutionary for shopping and payments, but it’s a model most supermarkets can’t easily copy, according to NCR.

The Fed drafts MIT to bring U.S. up to speed in the digital currency race
The global digital currency race has heightened the threat to traditional monetary policy and the dollar’s dominance, enough for the Federal Reserve of Boston to make a concerted effort to keep pace.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.