Morning Brief 9.2.20: Amazon plans digital Whole Foods, expands Alexa for gas

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Open, but not

One of Amazon's new Whole Foods locations will be online-only, the latest in a series of digital concepts Amazon is embedding in supermarkets.

The digital Whole Foods store will be in Brooklyn, in a technology-focused location in Sunset Park called Industry City, reports CNBC. Brooklyn has long been in Fresh Direct's footprint, so the online supermarket concept is familiar to local shoppers.

Amazon is also reportedly planning to place its Go checkout-free technology in Whole Foods locations and shopping malls. It's also reportedly testing shopping cart checkout technology in its planned self-branded supermarket chain.

Fueling station

Fiserv, Amazon and ExxonMobil have taken "Alexa, Pay for Gas" live at more than 11,500 gas stations locations in the U.S.

Alexa-enabled vehicles and devices such as Echo Auto or the Alexa smartphone app can verbally command the fuel grade and pump selection, then fill their tank. Payment is completed automatically after fueling.

The three companies began work on the project earlier in 2020. Payment credentials are stored in the user's Amazon account, and Fiserv provides the processing technology.

Express train

The Washington, D.C. Metro agreed to deploy Apple Pay's transit-oriented authentication feature, which is designed to speed boarding while removing one additional point of contact.

The D.C. system has been working on the upgrade, which went live in the past few days, reports MacRumors. Apple's Express Transit is also part of New York's subway upgrade and a primary way Apple sells transportation authorities on adding its payment app. Express Transit was part of iOS 12.3 update in 2019, and allows entry without Face ID or Touch ID.

Transit systems globally have been migrating from closed-loop ticketing systems, a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic in an attempt to lure riders back into networks.

Spinoff series

Digital ID firm IDnow is expected to acquire Wirecard's communication services division, the latest transaction as Wirecard sells parts of its business following an accounting scandal.

IDnow plans to use the Wirecard assets to improve its digital verification products to serve an increasing number of businesses and consumers that are conducting business and making payments online, reports Finextra.

PagSeguro Digital recently acquired Wirecard's Brazian unit and Railsbank has agreed to purchase Wirecard's U.K. card business.

Driving green

Commercial card issuer FleetCor this week launched a fleet card with an environmental twist that aims to make vehicle fill-ups carbon neutral. The Fuelman Clean Advantage Fleet Card is billed as the first U.S. fleet card that automatically offsets 100% of tailpipe emissions from every gallon of fuel purchased, according to a press release.

The card targets small and midsize businesses looking to reach environmentally conscious customers, who will have access to audits of their carbon offsets and sustainability materials. FleetCor’s newest card program also includes support for planting 10,000 trees in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation.

FleetCor worked with environmental technology company GreenPrint to develop the program, which offsets the effect of emissions with investments in independently certified carbon projects.

From the web

Walmart's Flipkart starts wholesale e-commerce service in India
REUTERS | Wednesday Sept. 2, 2020
India’s Flipkart launched an online wholesale service for mom-and-pop stores and other small businesses on Wednesday, as the Walmart-owned firm seeks to better compete with Amazon and other players in a battleground market for e-commerce.

Amazon's new offerings make India centre of fintech push
REUTERS | Wednesday Sept. 2 2020
Amazon.com Inc has added insurance and even gold to its menu of financial services in India, to expand its customer base and attract more subscribers to its Prime loyalty programme in a battleground growth market.

Financial institutions using Plaid Exchange can share instant account activity
TECHCRUNCH | Sept. 1, 2020
A few months ago, Plaid unveiled Plaid Exchange, a product that helps financial institutions build and maintain an API that other developers can use. The company is iterating on that product and now updates account activity in near real time.

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