Since at least the time of ancient Rome, human beings have been saying some variation on the expression “fortune favors the brave.” It has many permutations — “nothing ventured, nothing gained” or (our favorite) “go big, or go home” — but they all get at approximately the same point: Want a big reward, better be willing to take a big risk.
This week in PYMNTS and commerce, we had plenty of players pushing in the spirit of said ancient wisdom, to greater and lesser effect.
Amazon’s All About The Perks
Amazon had not one, but two stories this week about offering out a more generous hand.
For consumers, that comes in the way of rewards and perks offered for Prime Members that also happen to be Whole Foods shoppers — about 75 percent of Whole Food shoppers are Amazon Prime customers, according to reports, but under 20 percent of Amazon Prime members shop at Whole Foods.
Amazon is hoping to drive more of those Prime users shopping elsewhere by giving Prime Members an extra 10 percent off discounted food items and other products. It already started offering free delivery of Whole Foods products to Prime members in select locations around the country, 5 percent cash back when Prime members use a Visa rewards card at Whole Foods and deals that are exclusive to Prime members.
Promotions and discounts are part of the standard order of operations for grocery sales — and Whole Food is now hoping to aim them at the wide swath of Prime Members. It has been taken as good news for organic goods producers, who have had a hard time capturing U.S. market share (with about $500 million in sales organic food representing 1 percent to 2 percent of the total American grocery market).
The news also comes as Whole Foods has announced the end of its stand-alone rewards program, which will now become part of prime.
But grocery shoppers weren’t the only group in line for Amazon’s largess last week.
Amazon is also offering discounts to merchants who use its online payments service.
According to Bloomberg, online merchants using Amazon’s service have paid about 2.9 percent of each credit card transaction plus 30 cents, which is shared among Amazon, card issuers and payment networks. But Amazon says it is now offering lower fees to select merchants who will to tie-in with Amazon Pay for the long term.
Amazon has declined to comment, and it is unknown how many retailers have received the offer for discounts. Still, the news caused shares of PayPal to drop 4.1 percent on Wednesday (May 2), while Square lost over 3 percent. Visa fell 0.9 percent.
The service allows online shoppers to log into their Amazon accounts from other websites so they can complete the transaction using stored credit cards and delivery addresses rather than having to enter them again.
Google Pay Takes The Web
Google Pay has made the big jump to the web.
In a blog post highlighting what users can do with Google Pay, the company said it started to roll out Google Pay on the web from desktop and iOS, which means users will start seeing Google Pay when they shop via Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
The new roll-out will be device agnostic — once a user has saved their payment data with Google, that data will follow them from device to device, even if some of those devices were designed in Cupertino.
If customers are checking out on Chrome, Google Pay will automatically fill in all the billing, shipping and payment information to make checkout even quicker.
The move comes as Google is very much ramping up its move on payments across platforms. In February it announced the launch of its new mobile app for viewing and managing payments across platforms, cards and other payment methods, in addition to plans for making the Google Pay capability accessible to all.
To enable easy, secure payments for anyone, anywhere in the digital or physical world, all using a single account. The Google account.
They are, of course, far from the only player with this goal — but 2018 has been the year they’ve clearly decided to aggressive pursue it.
Ripple Ups Its Pair-Ups In The U.K. And Asia
Ripple has announced that five new customers across Europe and Asia will be joining the RippleNet — its blockchain network — powered by xVia.
FairFX (U.K.), RationalFX (U.K.), Exchange4Free (U.K.), UniPAY (Georgia), and MoneyMatch (Malaysia) will all be using xVia, an API solution enabling payment originators (those sending a payment on behalf of a customer, but not actually processing and paying it out) to access RippleNet.
Some of the benefits include faster entry into new markets, lower operational costs, faster speed and end-to-end visibility over a payment’s journey.
“By tapping our global network with xVia, our customers now access new markets quicker and more cost efficiently,” said Asheesh Birla, senior vice president of product at Ripple. “All of these customers run into the same problem: building bespoke connections to banks and networks all over the world. It’s expensive and time consuming. xVia enables them to grow their overall market share by reaching new customers in new markets, easier than ever before.”
Payment originators can maintain one standard connection through xVia, reducing the high failure rates that plague wire transfers. In addition, it will decrease manual reconciliation costs.
“xVia will allow us to reach more people, more efficiently and at a lower cost,” said James Hickman, Chief Commercial Officer at FairFX. “It will also enable us to deliver on our commitment to give customers the most transparent, efficient and truly global money transfer experience possible using RippleNet.”
Chris Humphrey, CEO of RationalFX, added, “This is an exciting new partnership for RationalFX, and we look forward to passing on the benefits of xVia to our clients across the globe.”
Ripple has offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney.
What did we learn?
In life, there are greater rewards for full measures than half ones — be it in commerce, payments or digital currency.
We’ll keep you posted on who is taking the big risks this week.
Until then, happy Monday!