Paying by phone is "easy, fast and convenient," say the participants in a US fuel payments trial — now all that's needed to move ahead is a business model...
Sheetz convenience stores and payments processor Wright Express Corporation have announced the successful completion of a multi-city NFC trial that enabled drivers to make fuel purchases at Sheetz locations using their mobile phones.
Drivers participating in the pilot, all members of the Sheetz Business Advantage fleet program, could download their fleet card over-the-air (OTA) into a specially provided NFC phone. They could then purchase fuel by tapping their phones at the contactless payment readers installed at the pump and in store at more than 350 participating Sheetz locations throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina.
"The mobile payment pilot was a huge success, meeting and exceeding our initial objectives," says Russ Lamer, Wright Express' manager of emerging technologies. "It helped us gain insight into the benefits of using a mobile phone as a payment device, document fleet driver usability at the pump and inside the store and also better understand the mobile payments operating systems."
Interviews with participating fleet drivers carried out after the trial showed they overwhelmingly approved of the NFC mobile technology, saying that the phone was an "easy, fast and convenient" payment method. Some mentioned that they preferred purchasing with the phone "because they always carry a phone, but sometimes forget their wallet."
Despite the positive results from the trial, however, work still needs to be done before any rollout could take place. "Our next steps are to work on a business model and evaluate how we can eventually be ready to offer commercial mobile payment services to our customers once NFC phones become widely available and accepted by our merchants," says Lamer.