Grocery chain Aldi, which manages overhead by requiring consumers to bag their own groceries, is a late adopter--but it is starting to add new payment types.
Just a few months after initiating mag stripe credit cards in the U.S., it's adding contactless and mobile wallets for the first time in France. Aldi France will buy 3,200 terminals from Verifone for its 900 locations in the country.
While Aldi makes payment technology advancements in France, its stores in the U.S. just began accepting all credit cards earlier this year, marking the first time the grocery chain would accept payments other than cash or some debit cards.
However, the Aldi network in the U.S. did not initially set up terminals to accept EMV chip cards, which were introduced in the U.S. in late 2015 with a liability shift for counterfeit fraud to retailers not able to accept the new technology.
Aldi continues to process only mag-stripe credit card payments in the U.S. at this time. Aldi has not put a specific timeline on EMV card acceptance, though recent upgrades in EMV terminal software from the major card brands to allow faster transactions, particularly at merchants concerned about managing checkout lines, may steer the grocery chain closer to chip acceptance.
The no-frills grocery store relies on its customers bagging their own groceries, a process that calls for fast transactions at the point of sale so customers can move their full carts away for bagging and allow the checker to move an empty cart into position for the next customer's purchases.
Aldi made a similar move to add payment card acceptance in England in late 2014, in what company officials called a move "to smash down a barrier" that was stopping some consumers from shopping at Aldi in England. The majority of card transactions in England are initiated through chip technology.
In France, the Verifone VX520 countertop terminals will handle contactless and NFC-enabled cards or mobile phones, including Apple Pay and Android Pay in markets where it is available, Verifone said in a June 29 press release.
Verifone said Aldi is converting to the multi-payment terminals because more French consumers have downloaded mobile wallet apps to their smartphones and thus have "contactless technologies in their hands" to speed up purchasing and enhance their shopping experiences.