As alternative payment options continue to expand, Kroger shoppers will soon be able to pay for their groceries with a simple scan of their smartphone.
Kroger Pay is a mobile phone option that bundles payment and loyalty card information for speedy checkout. Available in the grocer’s app, after the customer enters a pin, the program generates a QR code that shoppers scan at traditional checkouts as well as self-checkout stations.
“Kroger Pay is one of the few mobile wallets that pairs loyalty and payment,” said Mary Ellen Adcock, group vice president of operations. “The application of this exciting technology is another step in our front-end experience transformation.”
On Wednesday, the company also launched its Rewards debit card that connects directly to customers’ checking accounts. The card offers bonus fuel points and rewards, which are doubled when paired with Kroger Pay.
“Our new Kroger REWARDS debit card is a lower-cost payment option, enabling us to offer our customers additional savings when they are shopping in a store or online or fueling up,” said Gary Millerchip, CEO of Kroger Personal Finance and corporate strategy integration lead. “Through Restock Kroger, we are lowering operating costs, and our new debit card is another way we are doing just that while also rewarding customers who use it.”
Kroger Pay recently launched in Ohio, with plans for the service to roll out to 10 additional markets in the spring and to go nationwide later this year. While Kroger REWARDS debit card is currently only available in Ohio and Colorado It will reach the rest of the US by this spring.
“Kroger is redefining the customer experience by creating innovative ways to pay at our stores and online,” continued Millerchip. “Kroger Pay and the Kroger REWARDS debit card are two more ways we are transforming our payments model to benefit our customers.”
The supermarket chain joins a growing list of retailers that have launched self-branded payment apps, including Walmart, Target and CVS.
As cash falls out of favor with consumers, alternative payment methods are gaining appeal. In fact, roughly 10 percent of American shoppers don’t carry any cash on them, according to a survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Of those who do hold paper money, 78 percent of Americans carried less than $50 each day and 49 percent carry $20 or less.
Even though shoppers may not have physical money on them to spend, digital payment options are gaining popularity, in a large part due to debt. In fact, Americans collectively owe more than $1 trillion in credit-card debt, a number that has been steadily growing every year since 2014.
As for which alternative payment options that customers are using, mobile wallets (e.g. Apple Pay), electronic payments (e.g. PayPal) and cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) rank as the most popular retail options.
In an age where shopper convenience is expected, if not demanded, offering a wide variety of payment options can positively impact sales. With customers more willing to leave a purchase behind if their preferred payment option isn’t available.