Today in the Connected Economy: Instacart Offers Support to Pickers


Today in the connected economy, Instacart rolls out new features designed to help its in-store pickers, while Visa and MFG team up to provide contactless transit solutions in North Africa. Plus, Google unveils a new tool that lets people tell their phone to pay for parking.

Instacart Rolls out Shopper Support Features as Gig Model Faces Scrutiny

While reports circulate about the difficult conditions faced by gig workers, aggregators are trying to paint a more positive picture of their labor model. Instascart, for example, has announced that it is launching a range of features designed to offer support to its in-store pickers. These features include phone support through the Shopper app, allowing shoppers to speak with a representative; a safety toolkit with alerts, emergency calling and incident reporting; and a navigation feature with an interactive map of the store that shows item locations.

Visa, MLG Collaborate on Contactless Transit in North Africa

Visa has joined forces with Abu Dhabi-based FinTech Multi Level Group (MLG) on a project designed to promote contactless digital solutions in North Africa. The collaboration will focus on transit solutions, letting passengers pay for rides using contactless Visa prepaid and co-branded cards or wearable devices. In addition, the project will use Visa and MLG technologies to expand digital acceptance solutions for merchants at various markets throughout North Africa.

Android Update Includes Parking Voice Payments and Offline Live Transcriptions

Google has debuted several new features and updates for its products, including new voice payment capabilities for parking by saying, “Hey, Google, pay for parking,” in ParkMobile street parking zones. Once they’ve paid using Google Pay, users can ask Assistant to check the status of their parking and extend their time. Other new features include an on-device grammar check tool for Gboard on all Android devices, an updated Android Live Transcribe app, and an offline mode that generates real-time, speech-to-text captions even with no internet connection.

Ascenda Teams With Hyundai Card to Intro AmEx Cards in South Korean

Payments and banking rewards company Ascenda is collaborating with credit card issuer Hyundai Card to introduce a series of consumer and corporate cards on the American Express network in South Korea. The companies said the Hyundai American Express Card portfolio has six products for consumers and corporations alike, including a rewards program that is powered by Ascenda’s proprietary technology. In addition, the Ascenda rewards program comes with a points exchange system with more than 20 transfer partners and real-time travel redemption.

Tesco Bank, Onfido Team up on ID Verification

Tesco Bank has formed a partnership with identity verification company Onfido to provide security for new customers accessing the Tesco Clubcard Pay+ program. The U.K. firm said this collaboration will ensure people who apply for the program will enjoy a faster entry with the help of Onfido’s digital identity verification.

Square Launches Loyalty, Marketing Products in Ireland

Square has rolled out a pair of software products designed to help businesses in Ireland increase sales and foster customer loyalty in a few clicks. Square Marketing and Square Loyalty are now available as separate subscriptions for Irish businesses, the company said. “It’s been a challenging couple of years for businesses, and it’s more important than ever for sellers to stand out from competitors and see the impact on their business,” said Stephen Smythe, head of EU marketing at Square.