Morning Brief 3.2.20: Walmart tests more perks to take on Amazon Prime

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

Rival club

Walmart's rivalry with Amazon turns up in a variety of areas, from order and delivery to dueling for India's Flipkart. In a new move, Walmart is testing a subscription service that's aimed directly at Amazon Prime.

Called Walmart+, it's actually an acceleration of Walmart's Delivery Unlimited, which charges $98 per year for unlimited same-day delivery.

Walmart wants to add new perks and exclusive products on top of delivery in the hopes of eating into Amazon Prime's advantage, explains Engadget, adding Walmart may offer fuel and prescription discounts, or checkout-free shopping, as part of Walmart+.

No contact

While banks in the U.S. are considering remote work and other staff deployment alternatives to mitigate coronavirus spread, Singapore's DBS Bank has taken drastic steps to remove "contact," including incentives to dump checks.

The bank will offer 50 free virtual checks per month, in an effort to reduce physical check handling. It will also train businesses to use digital payment and other automated banking tools.

DBS implemented the measure as part of a followup to an evacuation of more than 300 employees in February after an employee contracted the coronavirus.

Mobile toll

Virginia's Express Lanes will support mobile payments for tolls on interstate highways and state roads.

The app is designed to appeal to drivers that use toll roads occasionally, but do not have an EZ Pass toll transmitter on their cars, reports WTOP, a local news station.

Transactions carry an 85 cent fee, and drivers use their car's license plate number to enroll.

Crypto security

Paris-based NIGMA Conseil and the Austrian Institute of Technology are partnering to address cryptocurrency security amid a recent spike in payment fraud in the region.

The agencies will monitor cryptocurrency transactions and perform anti-money laundering tasks, reports Finextra.

It's the second recent blockchain and cryptocurrency alliance, following the Cyber Information and Intelligence and Sharing Initiative, which involves several European crime agencies, banks and payment companies.

From the Web

Fueled By Increased Consumer Comfort, Mobile Payments In The U.S.Will Exceed $130 Billion In 2020
FORBES | Sun March 1, 2020
Consumer confidence in mobile payments and the digital wallet are making the transaction process easier online and in physical stores. According to Julie Bernard, CMO Verve, innovative businesses recognize they need to incentivize mobile payments – offer more tangible benefits in the mind of the consumer such as loyalty benefits – and as these consumer-facing advantages are rolled out, consumers will embrace the change.

Gig economy workers 'punished' by coronavirus self-isolation measures
THE TELEGRAPH | Fri February 28, 2020
Workers in Britain’s rapidly expanding ‘gig economy’ stand to suffer disproportionately from moves to self-isolate people in the face of coronavirus, it was claimed today. Those on zero-hours contracts or paid by the job run the risk of going without any form of income for the 14-day or longer periods required to remain at home to ensure they are not carrying the virus.

Credit cards, addresses and phone numbers vulnerable: More than one million energy customers’ privacy at risk
THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD | Sun March 1, 2020
A joint investigation by The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and ABC’s 7.30 reveals that Chinese-owned Alinta Energy, one of Australia’s biggest energy companies, has put the privacy of its 1.1 million retail gas and electricity customers at risk due to “reckless” cyber security and data protection systems. Through its retail operations, Alinta collects names, addresses, birth dates, mobile numbers, Medicare and passport numbers, credit card details and in some cases individual health information.

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