Startup tackles truck stops' EMV pain

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Fuel payment options in the trucking industry have long relied on private-label cards from giants like Comdata and WEX, but a startup is hoping to break in by capitalizing on new payments technology and the looming gas-station EMV migration.

Gas Pos, founded in 2017, has formed a partnership with cloud communications platform Twilio for a service targeting independent truck stops that offers an immediate path to accepting EMV cards and a way to offset the interchange fees of private-label fuel cards and rewards cards.

One element that sets Gas Pos apart from traditional fuel payment methods is its point-of-sale display of the real-time cost of fuel per gallon using various payment methods—including the interchange built into different card programs—which takes a bite out of gas retailers’ profits.
“Our data enables truck-stop operators to market their fuel prices dynamically based on the payment method,” said Gas Pos CEO Joshua Smith, noting that Twilio's network-based communication system routes payments from the cloud to its servers.

With per-gallon prices varying an average of 3 to 8 cents per gallon based on the payment method truckers use, when truckers choose a lower-cost payment method, the savings can add up to thousands for truck-stop operators, according to Smith.

The move by Gas Pos is timely, as U.S. gasoline retailers are preparing for the U.S. EMV liability shift to take effect in October of 2020.

Mainstream U.S. merchants were required to comply with the EMV liability shift in 2015, but the card networks gave gas stations an additional five years to comply, because of the heavier expense of upgrading payment hardware on fuel tanks.

Because many private-label fuel card providers have not yet upgraded cards to EMV, fraud rates are rising at truck stops, according to Smith.

“Independent truck stops in particular are facing higher fraud losses and they’re also looking for ways to upgrade their processing hardware and software for EMV cards,” he said.

Little Rock, Ark.-based Gas Pos accepts all payment cards and markets its processing service to truck stops for $200 a month, plus 10 cents each time a private-label fuel card is used. Payment terminals are designed for indoors or outdoors and are equipped with receipt printers that can be adapted for payment at the pump or inside the store.

Gas Pos calls its payment network “Steve,” after the first driver to use it, and so far 75 truck stops across the U.S. are using it, according to Smith.

The company received $1 million in venture capital funding last year and the company expects to reach $5 million in revenue this year.

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