With the summer driving season in full swing, Shell Oil Products U.S. is attempting to boost the appeal of its branded payment cards.
Shell offers a dollar-for-dollar rebate to customers who open a new account for Shell's Drive for Five credit card on any non-fuel purchases, such as car washes or convenience store goods, made at Shell stations.
The Drive for Five credit card complements the Shell Saver Card decoupled debit card, which offers a discount on gas, says Kimberly Windon, who handles U.S. media relations for Houston-based Shell Oil Co., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell plc.
The Shell Saver Card, which provides cardholders two cents off per gallon of gas, has been available to Shell customers for more than four years. Shell was one of the first companies to use First Data's Telecheck system to link the decoupled debit card to consumer checking accounts.
The Drive for Five Card, a credit card, rebates five cents per gallon when motorists buy at least 45 gallons of Shell gasoline during a billing cycle, Windon says. The rebate applies to up to 100 gallons.
"Both cards cater to an individual's payment and lifestyle preferences," Windon says. Citibank NA of Sioux Falls, S.D., issues the cards for Shell.
A Shell card in a customer's hand is an indication that the customer will continue to do business with Shell, says Richard Oglesby, senior analyst and mobile pay expert with Boston-based Aite Group.
"Even if only 1% of Shell's customers adopt the card, they are probably a 1% that represents their best customers," Oglesby adds.
Such payment cards may translate fairly easily into a mobile commerce environment for example, the mobile version of the store-branded Starbucks Card accounts for over 10% of the coffee giant's U.S. sales, Oglesby says.
Despite that potential, "mobile is not a reason for putting out products like this now," Oglesby says.
The main goal is for a consumer to show loyalty to a business, he says. "If Shell could get its customers to pre-buy gas on a card, that would be terrific."