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COVID-19 Vaccinations, ‘Smart’ Grocery Carts, Real-Time Disbursements Top This Week’s News

In this week’s news, we saw updates on COVID-19 vaccinations, “smart” grocery carts and safer real-time disbursements. The Weekender is here to catch you up.


COVID Vaccinations Could Be a Shot in the Arm for CVS, Walgreens, Other Pharmacies

An effort that sends millions of Americans into pharmacies for coronavirus vaccines could be a real boost for an industry that has suffered amid the pandemic. Even though pharmacies have generally remained open as “essential” businesses, experts say they’ve lost sales because of the outbreak.

CarLotz Aims to Disrupt Used Car Business (and to Go Public This Week)

Virginia-based CarLotz is an omnichannel site for pre-owned cars that sells vehicles through the web and an expanding network of U.S. “hubs” where shoppers can visit in person. CarLotz struck a deal in October to go public through a combination with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and will start trading on the Nasdaq Global Market starting Friday (Jan. 22).

Kroger Joins Amazon in the Race to Add ‘Smart’ Grocery Carts

The race is revving up in grocery aisles throughout the country to add “smart” shopping carts. Kroger became the newest entrant when it launched its new “KroGO” shopping carts on an experimental basis in an Ohio supermarket.

Retail 2021: The Five Things Retailers Should Be Talking About at NRF This Week

The boundaries between physical and digital, which were blurred in the past, have now collapsed. Retail’s survival is now about making physical a part of an online shopping experience and that leads to necessary conversations about the five retail realities that go beyond channels and tactics.

Q4 Earnings Reports Show Mobile Banking’s Surge

A common theme amid bank earnings has been the increased adoption of mobile banking. Data points from banks, pretty much across the board, have provided signs that consumers have been pivoting to their mobile devices to take care of their daily financial needs.

Trackers and Reports

APIs, Data Analytics Bring Cash Flow Control to the Back Office

The pandemic is bringing about fluctuations in the international economy, while supply and demand movements are causing a number of companies to encounter liquidity stresses and constricted credit access. These factors are putting businesses to the test, particularly in the way they contend with their finances.

Radius Bank: Virtual Debit, Mobile Tools Help Banks Fight Debit Fraud

Payments shifted quickly after the pandemic led to limitations for companies and individuals, leading many to turn to digital services for basic purchases and transactions. In addition, a number of consumers started to depend more on their debit cards to steer clear of accruing further interest or debt, as scammers followed their lead in targeting debit.

As a result, financial institutions are reconsidering their approaches to digital payment security, particularly when it comes to debit. PYMNTS explores with Radius Bank how the pandemic has impacted spending and what financial institutions can do to keep these transactions safe.

Auto Lenders Use AI to Drive Safer Real-Time Disbursements

Consumers are heading online for smooth and expedient shopping experiences, and customers tapping into digital channels to purchase new vehicles also want their auto financing loans to arrive fast. That is driving some lenders to adopt the RTP(R) network to expedite these disbursements.

PYMNTS explores with Westlake Financial how in-depth contingency planning, strong customer onboarding and verification methods and other procedures can assist auto lenders in securely providing real-time payments.

Fun, Cool and Otherwise Interesting

CFPB Changes Expected as Biden Administration Settles In

Rohit Chopra has been nominated by President Joe Biden to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, taking the place of Kathy Kraninger as director.

One Year Later: Five Ways COVID Has Changed the Digital Consumer

To say that the pandemic has changed us all is putting it more than a little mildly. PYMNTS has been polling consumers since the pandemic’s early days. We’ve learned that consumers have hit the reset button in the last 10 or so months when it comes to what they do, what they anticipate and who they plan to be when “normal life” can start again.

India’s Digital Efforts, Payments Poised to ‘Break Out’

Tufts University‘s Fletcher School, working with Mastercard, said that India is fourth in “momentum” among 90 economies ranked at the conclusion of 2020.

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