Morning Brief 2.14.20: Walmart discontinues Jet black shopping service

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Stop order

Walmart is closing Jet black, the retail giant's experimental urban personal shopping service, TechCrunch reports. Launched in the fall of 2018 within Walmart's Store No. 8 retail innovation lab, Jet black targeted upscale city-dwellers with text-based ordering for home delivery of fresh food and dry goods. Jet black, which carried a $50 monthly membership fee, will cease operations on Feb. 21.

Lessons learned from Jet black — including how consumers respond to “conversational commerce” — will be folded into Walmart’s broader business, Scott Eckert, Walmart’s senior vice president of next generation retail and principal of Store No. 8, said in a company blog post. The concept had about 1,000 customers at its peak, according to reports.

Wings

Flywire, which got its start in cross-border tuition payments and has since branched into B2B and health care payments, has purchased Simplee, a health care payments software startup. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Simplee, launched in 2010, enables health care providers to streamline and customize patient bills. Adding Simplee expands Flywire’s market share in the expanding market for patient out-of-pocket health care spending, according to a press release.

Separately, Flywire announced a $120 million Series E funding round led by Goldman Sachs. Boston-based Flywire will use the funds to expand to new verticals within the payments industry, the release said. Altogether Flywire has raised about $260 million in venture capital since its launch in 2011.

Blockchain class

Mastercard and payments startup Ripple have joined several other companies in the Blockchain Education Alliance, an initiative of blockchain accelerator Mousebelt, Coindesk reports. The organization, designed to promote blockchain education and research at universities, was established in the fall of 2019.

The Alliance, which launched with 13 members that include crypto exchanges, aims to train the next generation of blockchain developers through programs with 80 student associations around the world. Members will provide funding and resources for students and faculty to develop blockchain curricula.

Bulk bills

RBC is the first Canadian bank to offer Interac Corp.’s Interac e-Transfer: Bulk Request Money, Finextra reports. The subscription-based service enables businesses to send hundreds or thousands of payment requests at once to individual payors through digital messages. Interac developed features for the new service to ensure security, support for data analytics, direct messaging and reporting to streamline business banking customers’ processes.

Users initiate the bulk-transfer service through RBC Express or RBC’s network gateway. When requesting payment, companies have the option to customize notifications sent to payors with their corporate logo and a message, and to control the number of frequency of automatic reminders the system sends.

From the Web

Possible data breach at 70 Pennsylvania Rutter's stores
FOX43 | Thu February 13, 2020
On January 14th, Rutter's was alerted of possible malware that may have given someone unauthorized access to card data used at the point-of-sale machines on gas pumps and in-store at many locations. Rutter's says the malware may have granted access to card numbers and expiration dates, but not names or internal identification codes.

WeChat Pay receives permission to operate cross-border payment service in Nepal
GLOBAL TIMES | Thu February 13, 2020
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central bank of Nepal, has recently granted WeChat Pay permission to operate in the country, nine months after the Chinese mobile payment service was banned by local government due to so-called illegal usage. Local transaction settlements will take place in Nepal and NMB will have an agreement with Nostro settlements and WeChat Pay, the official said, noting that the "presence of WeChat Pay in Nepal will facilitate Chinese tourists making payments and will help Nepal earn foreign currency."

Mexican migrants sent record $36B in remittances in 2019
FOX NEWS | Thu February 13, 2020
Instability in Mexico and Latin America drove a wave of migrant workers to send a record amount of remittances to their home countries in 2019. Mexico’s central bank reported that Mexican migrants working overseas sent home a record-high $36 billion in remittances in 2019, a 7% increase from 2018.

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