French supermarket chain Casino on Monday announced that it has acquired an equity stake in Paris-based payment firm Lyf Pay, which rolled out its services across Europe last year to rival Apple Pay and Alibaba’s Alipay.
Lyf Pay was initially launched in 2017 as a joint venture between the grocery chain Carrefour and BNP Paribas and also received support from other players including Crédit Mutuel, Auchan, payments processor Mastercard, Oney and oil company Total.
Casino, whose stock price has been hard hit by concerns over its debts, didn’t disclose the terms of the deal Monday but said it stemmed from an existing partnership with Lyf Pay.
“We cannot just offer goods, we have to offer more services to our clients as well,” Casino’s deputy chief executive and chief operating officer, Julien Lagubeau, said.
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Fierce Competition with US banks
Lyf Pay’s technology helps retailers unify all of the customers’ payment cards, coupons, and loyalty points, with its app then used by smartphone owners to store their card details and pay for goods.
The app is the result of the merger between two French mobile payments initiatives: Fivory, which brings together Crédit Mutuel, Mastercard, Total, Oney and Auchan, and the Wa! application provided by Carrefour and BNP Paribas.
The scope of the application covers in-store payments, online shopping, and even charitable donations. By integrating payment cards, loyalty cards, and coupons, Lyf Pay provides a comprehensive solution to simplify its users’ needs and create a relationship between consumers, merchants and banking partners.
The app is a coup for BNP Paribas, which owns more than 40 percent, with its fierce rival US banks in the midst of an aggressive push to sign up retailers and financial firms in the Europe for their payment solutions. It also competes against the digital wallets of Apple, Google and Samsung, all vying to replace the swipe of a payment card with the tap of a phone.
Last year, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) has agreed to acquire MCX’s payments technology to help expand Chase Pay, its smartphone-based payment system which allows consumers to pay retailers using their devices.