Apple Pay users 'will never go back,' Cook says; Walmart stores become e-commerce labs

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Apple's payments-related services contributed to Apple's $64.7 billion in revenue for the month ending Sept. 30, which slightly beat analyst's expectations despite a slowdown in iPhone sales.

"We continue to be very enthusiastic about the whole payment services area — Apple Card is doing well; and Apple Pay is doing exceptionally well," Apple CEO Time Cook told analysts on Thursday afternoon in a conference call discussing the results.

"As you can imagine, in this (pandemic) environment people are less wont to hand over a card, so this contactless payment has taken on a different level of adoption in it that I think will never go back," Cook said.

The U.S. has been "lagging a bit" in contactless payment adoption versus other countries, and Cook said the pandemic is changing that trajectory. "We’re very bullish on this area and view that there are more things that Apple can do in this space and so it’s an area of great interest to us," he said.

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple.

Shopping lab

Walmart will set aside four stores as testing centers for strategies aimed at turning its physical footprint into a competitive benefit for e-commerce.

Two of the stores will be near its headquarters in Arkansas, with two other locations named later, reports CNBC. The staff will blend brick-and-mortar and digital parts of the business, such as using AI to scan boxes in storage areas to speed mobile ordering and pickup. It will also experiment with checkout design and flow to determine the best mix of hardware and software to reduce human interaction.

Walmart has a history of using test stores as labs as it searches for ways to compete with Amazon, which is expanding its retail franchise by using a mix of checkout-free options.

Free cash

Fintech Chime has signed a deal with Cardtronics to support surcharge-free ATMs starting in 2021.

Chime is positioning the deal as a way to ensure cash access. Cardtronics owns Allpoint, which operates one of the world's largest retail-based free ATM networks in the world. The ATMs are predominantly in supermarkets, big box stores and convenience stores.

Chime works through banks including The Bancorp Bank and Stride Bank to offer a spending account, savings account, debit card and a "credit builder" card to allow consumers to build a credit record that enables them to get a credit card.

Recycling bin

Danske bank wants to make its payment cards more environmentally-friendly by changing its production policy.

The bank will phase out all existing plastic payment cards and deploy cards made from 86% recycled plastic, according to Finextra. The first cards will support the Pocket Money account, which is aimed at children between eight and 14.

Later cards will be issued to Visa/Dankort and Mastercard consumers. The bank considers the recycling a step in the right direction but not a full solution to climate change.

Home turf

India's insistence that companies store consumer data inside India is being aimed at Paytm, which while based in India has received billions in investment from external sources.

In this case, the regulators are pressuring Paytm to account for investors from China, adding the data tied to those investments and partnerships need to be stored in India. Some of these servers are reportedly outside India, reports The Print, an Indian news site.

U.S. companies such as Visa and Mastercard have squabbled with India over the data storage rules, with Mastercard contending the rules make it harder for companies to share information for risk management and technology development.

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