Morning Brief 8.7.20: Kroger adds NFC support as contactless pay surges

Register now

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

NFC now

Kroger is no longer an NFC holdout. In a significant shift, the nation’s largest supermarket chain is piloting NFC payment acceptance at 61 Seattle-area QFC stores, marking the first time the retail giant has enabled mobile proximity-based acceptance of Apple Pay and Google Pay at any locations.

Kroger continues to support its mobile in-app payments option, Kroger Pay, the Cincinnati-based company said in a press release. Though the company made no mention of coronavirus in its announcement, data increasingly suggest consumers prefer contactless options, and a growing number are using NFC-enabled cards and devices to check out at stores to avoid virus exposure.

Kroger until now has been one of a handful of holdouts—along with Walmart—blocking NFC in stores in favor of proprietary QR code-methods. Kroger was one of the core backers of MCX, a retail coalition that piloted a QR code-based mobile payment app called CurrentC, which failed to catch on.


Unisys and digital invoicing firm PayCargo have teamed to build a digital payments portal for the shipping industry, attempting to reach airlines looking for added revenue amid a passenger slump.

The gateway will use Unisys' air cargo software to support ACH debits, prefunded accounts or credit card payments. Delta Airlines is among the initial users, deploying the system in its Cargo air freight division.

The payment system enables same-day processing, which in turn allows cargo to be released the same day. A single dashboard is designed to allow airlines to avoid accessing multiple systems to track cargo.

Go to market

Supermarket chain Aldi's German affiliate is putting out feelers for technology that would support a rival to the checkout-free Amazon Go store.

Aldi Sud is reportedly scouting computer vision and AI startups to build a concept store, reports the U.K.'s ChargedRetail. More than two dozen technology companies are developing autonomous retail technology, partly driven by the buzz around Amazon Go.

Aldi's looking for both sensors that are embedded in the store and in shopping carts. Amazon Go uses primarily in-store technology, though Amazon is also testing checkout-free technology on shopping carts.

CU transfer

CO-OP Financial Services and Zelle will co-offer a P2P app for credit unions that are part of CO-OP's credit union service organization network.

The deal potentially opens the bank-led Zelle app to hundreds of additional financial institutions. Credit unions that have CO-OP's account technology will be able to automatically onboard Zelle users. More than a dozen credit unions were live at launch.

Zelle has expanded quickly during the pandemic, routing $133 billion during the first six months of 2020, compared to $83 billion during the first half of 2019, with enrollment increasing 17%.

Hitting the jackpot

Security researchers have discovered new vulnerabilities that allow crooks to trick ATMs into dispensing cash. Rather than the traditional jackpotting attack, which directly targets ATMs, these new attacks take advantage of remote connections, reports TechCrunch.

One vulnerability allows attackers to exploit XFS, or the system the ATM uses to communicate with the card reader or cash dispenser. The bug is in the software layer that connects to the broader network.

Another vulnerability is in remote management software that allows ATM operators to manage an entire fleet from an external location. Both of these vulnerabilities primarily target ATMs at stores rather than ATMs at bank branches.

From the Web

Singapore charges Citadelle director with falsifying letters related to Wirecard
REUTERS | August 7, 2020
Singapore has charged a director of Citadelle Corporate Services Pte Ltd for falsifying letters related to Wirecard, the collapsed German payments firm.

Uber rides take COVID-19 hit but food-delivery business doubles
REUTERS | August 6, 2020
Homebound customers of Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) more than doubled their orders from the company’s food-delivery service in the second quarter but demand for ride-hailing trips only marginally recovered from pandemic rock-bottom.

Goldman Sachs Eyes Own Token as Bank Appoints New Head of Digital Assets
COINDESK | August 6, 2020
Goldman Sachs is seriously considering its own cryptocurrency, possibly a stablecoin, as it significantly expands its digital assets team and appoints a new head to spearhead efforts.

More from PaymentsSource

PayPal hires fintech expert as global competition heats up
PayPal’s financial performance has shined amid the economic crisis, yet it still faces considerable challenges as international merchant acquirers aggressively up their game.

Paystand blends card, blockchain rails for B2B payments
Cards are gaining ground with B2B buyers, especially as the coronavirus outbreak squeezes business owners’ cash reserves. But this leaves suppliers paying more in interchange fees as they accept more cards.

Fed to have payments service ready 'as soon as practicably possible'
WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve released new details Thursday on its FedNow real-time payments system, and said it hopes to make the system operational "as soon as practicably possible."

More bailout cash won't stop wave of credit card defaults
Despite the coronavirus and millions of jobless claims driving the U.S. economy deeper into recession, the flood of credit card delinquencies that some predicted has yet to materialize. Instead, card debt has actually gone down since the pandemic struck, with many consumers spending less while using bailout money to chip away at balances.

Coronavirus payment shifts require a new credit strategy
The coronavirus has changed payment and spending habits and that has implications for credit risk around cards and other lending.

Only the flexible fintechs will survive the coronavirus recession
The agility and struggle to adapt are the main traits a fintech company should possess to survive the crisis and thrive afterward, says Genome's Daumantas Barauskas.

How U.K.'s Paysafe pushed back as coronavirus threatened U.S. expansion
The coronavirus outbreak initially looked like it might torpedo U.K.-based Paysafe’s plan to expand in the U.S. in 2020. But several months into the pandemic, the payments conglomerate sees ways it can grow by helping bruised small businesses retool operations.

Womply launches B2B card-based bill-payment
Womply is joining the growing niche of providers offering card-based bill-payment services for cash-strapped small-business owners.

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