No one wants to stand outside in the bitter cold at a gas station waiting for their payment to be authorized before fueling — especially as far north as Canada.
Consumers in Edmonton, Alberta can now avoid the cold by paying with AJB Software Design Inc.’s FIPay Mobile application, which allows customers of Hughes Petroleum Ltd. to purchase gas and car washes with their mobile devices. They can do this all from the warmth of their vehicles.
“We’re committed to giving customers the best experience and since everyone is using their cell phones more and more, this is a natural progression,” says Darren Hughes, director of operations at Hughes Petroleum. “Authorizing in the car makes sense in Edmonton; when it’s minus 40 [degrees] outside it’s nice to stay in your car for a few more minutes.”
With FIPay Mobile customers link one or more bank cards to the app. During registration, motorists choose a PIN that will unlock the app for future use. The app doesn’t store any sensitive data on the phone.
If a user's phone is lost, “it’s not a wallet where you have the cancel all the cards," says Eric Wong, director of special projects at AJB.
When users pulls up to a pump at Hughes, they type in the gas pump’s unique identification number and choose the amount of fuel they’d like to purchase or tap the fuel-up button within the app. After the transaction is authorized by the processor, the pump is activated and customers can start fueling.
Motorists receive an e-receipt within the app, which stores all receipts so users can review past purchases as well.
“This is an example of a payment experience tailored to a particular situation and delivering very specific benefits,” says Zil Bareisis, a London-based analyst for Celent. “Mobile enables merchants and their partners to develop such customized experiences easier than it would have been possible with cards in the past.”
But it remains unclear whether consumers prefer to use an assortment of tailored apps instead of one all-encompassing app, Bareisis says.
With FIPay Mobile, available on both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, AJB has made its first move in mobile payment app development.
“Mobile payment is the future and … is a natural extension to what [AJB] normally does,” Wong says.
The mobile app will keep both AJB and its merchant customers up to speed in the payments industry, he says.
The FIPay Mobile app is available at only one gas station today, but AJB plans on rolling it out to Hughes' 21 other locations in and around Edmonton. It does not have a timeline for the rollout.
AJB is also working with partners in the retail and hospitality industries to launch a mobile-payment app.
“Our existing clients are asking us for innovative payment solutions and mobile payments are a hot topic for retailers,” Wong says.
TD Bank N.A. is Hughes' payment processor. A representative for the bank did not respond to a request for comment.