Retailers Aim to Give Shoppers Easier Payment Methods

Amazon proposes to share software; 7-Eleven offers mobile bill payment.

March 19, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Consumers value seamless experiences in stores, and companies like 7-Eleven, Walmart and Target are always on the hunt for ways to improve the “smoothness” of a customer’s time in their stores, and that includes the use of quick and easy payment methods with things such as cashierless and cashless technology.

Arcus, a fintech platform aimed at automating the delivery and use of financial services, announced a partnership with 7-Eleven to add modern payment solutions to the chain’s mobile app in Latin America. 7-Eleven wanted a more seamless, integrated payment experience for Latin American customers who pay in cash, reports

“Historically, it has been challenging for people who pay with cash to manage their bills and for retailers to reconcile in-store cash payments for external parties,” said Edrizio De La Cruz, CEO and co-founder of Arcus. “Using our technology, 7-Eleven can now offer customers an easier, better way to manage their bills and other recurring payments.”

Once Latin American customers download the app via the Google Play store or iTunes App Store, they can start paying bills immediately by creating an account, adding a bill, showing the 7-Eleven cashier the barcode generated on the smartphone, telling them the amount to pay and then paying with cash. The user is provided with a receipt as proof of payment. Most payments are posted to the account within three business days, though many billers post payments the next business day.

Meanwhile, Amazon is making some of the technology from its cashierless “Go” stores available to other retailers through an organization called Dent, the Wall Street Journal reports. The company has talked with both Walmart and Target, but so far neither company plans to sign up.

The talks indicate that Amazon wants other major retailers to adopt its cashierless technology and indicates the interest of major operators, like Walmart and Target, to modernize their operations with more automation and data-driven decision-making. The Go technology, in addition to cashierless purchasing, also provides automated inventory management.

Amazon may have a hard time winning over retailers that have long viewed the Seattle-based company as a chief competitor. For example, Walmart has requested that some of its traditional vendors not use Amazon’s cloud-computing services, and other retailers also have avoided Amazon’s data storage and computing services.

Amazon reportedly wants to make the technology “open source,” which would permit retailers to download the software and use it however they want and without any connection to the e-commerce giant.

Last month, Amazon demonstrated how its “Go” technology, which is currently used in small, convenience-size stores, would work in a larger location when it opened Amazon Go, the 10,000-square-foot grocery near the company’s Seattle headquarters.

“Project Dent is a neutral place” for different vendors to cooperate, according to Arpit Joshipura, who is general manager of networking at the Linux Foundation and also helps run Dent as an open-source project.