RAC Cars News


New App Sees Drivers Use Smartphones To Pay For Fuel

By raccars Published

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Shell and PayPal have developed a new smartphone app which allows drivers to pay for their fuel while sitting in their cars. The system will be available from April to 1,000 Shell Drivers' Club members to start with and is compatible with Android, Windows and iOS smartphone users.

Drivers can download a Shell Motorist App or, alternatively, a PayPal App, which can be used at participating garages. Upon arrival on the service station forecourt, drivers select their fuel pump according to the options on the app. The payment is authenticated and the driver then fills up with fuel, leaving the forecourt as soon as fuelling is completed without further ado. A receipt for the transaction is sent to the smartphone to confirm payment.

The system was trialled in 2013 and after the initial Shell Drivers' Club introduction, the firm plans to take it nationwide by the end of the year. Of the 1,000 Shell garages in the UK, almost all are expected to participate in the scheme.

Critics of the scheme have pointed out that customers are forbidden from using mobile phones on service station forecourts, but Shell claims there is no danger from using the app inside a stationary, parked car. The company has collaborated with the London Fire Brigade to ensure that there are no safety issues but drivers still cannot use mobile phones on a service station forecourt outside the car.

Shell is pushing the app as a safe, fast and secure way in which to buy fuel and suggests that customers who want to go into service station shops to buy other items will benefit from faster service. Furthermore, parents no longer have to worry about leaving young children alone in the car while paying for fuel.

Shell will be the first fuel provider in the UK to offer a smartphone payment solution for fuel but the PayPal app is already in use at more than 8,000 shops and restaurants in the UK for some 19 million British PayPal account holders. PayPal is planning to extend the app's usability to include ordering and paying for takeaway food using smartphones.

Shell operates 45,000 service stations in 70 countries. The company sells more than 160 billion litres of fuel every year.

The app is already available for download in preparation for the launch of the system later in the year.

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