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Mobile Pay at the Pump

We’ve all had a time where we need to get gas and it’s pouring rain outside and the wind rips through our shirts, chilling us to the bone. We get out of our vehicle and fumble through our pocket or purses looking for our wallet, our fingers not responding to the commands we give them due to the biting cold of the wind. We grab the wallet and pull out our bank card, fumbling to insert it into the reader and carefully pressing the buttons to enter our PIN without messing it up. Finally it’s all ready, we turn on the pump and place our hands in our pockets for warmth while the gas fills our tank.

What if we could change it so there was a lot less fumbling? ExxonMobil is doing just that by letting you pay for your gas before you even get out of your car. Using their Speed pass+ app on Apple phones, you can pay for gas using your mobile device. A debit, credit, or checking account can be linked to the app and once you use the app and pump your gas, the linked account is charged for the gas you acquired. Once you activate the app, your phone’s GPS reports your location so the app can figure out which station you’re at, then you select the pump number. Alternatively, you might have to scan a QR code or other image with your phone’s camera. Next, you can use the thumbprint ID to initiate payment,

This technology goes beyond the convenience of not having to stand in the cold (or the heat) and fumble with your wallet to pay for gas. It saves money on the business end of gas stations because hardware upgrades to install Apple Pay readers would be expensive to roll out over thousands of stations.

Additionally, hardware can be security compromised. Card skimmers are a common tactic that thieves use to steal credit and debit card information, including PINs, and they can get all that info just by you swiping your card on a compromised machine. With Speed pass+, you’re not accessing any hardware or card readers, but rather functioning as a middleman between ExxonMobil and your bank. Your phone acts as the pump’s payment feature.

Several other mobile payment options have entered the market over the past couple years, including Android and Samsung Pay systems. Both the Android and Samsung systems support payment by phone using the same magnetic stripe reader that your card would use, which adds a lot of convenience, but it’s still possible to get skimmed. At least with these platforms, you’re essentially issued a separate card number and get instant alerts of payments, so it’s much easier to catch fraud if it were to happen.


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