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Sheetz, Inc. completed its multi-city NFC mobile payment pilot with Wright Express Corp.
During the trial, drivers used their Sheetz Fleet Business Advantage card loaded into their specially enabled Near Field Communication (NFC) mobile phones to make fuel and convenience store purchases at hundreds of Sheetz locations by waving their NFC mobile phones at contactless-enabled readers, the companies reported.
Wright Express was able to authorize and process the mobile transactions as easily as those done by drivers using plastic cards, according to the companies.
“The mobile payment pilot was a huge success, meeting and exceeding our initial objectives,” said Russ Lamer, manager of emerging technologies at South Portland, Maine-based Wright Express. “It helped us gain insight into the benefits of using a mobile phone as a payment device, document fleet driver usability at the pump and inside the store, and also better understand the mobile payments operating systems.”
Post-interviews with participating fleet drivers showed they overwhelmingly approved the NFC mobile technology, saying the phone was an “easy, fast and convenient” payment method. Some mentioned they preferred purchasing with the phone “because they always carry a phone, but sometimes forget their wallet,” the companies reported.
One important feature of the pilot program was the ability to make mobile phone purchases both inside the store and at the pump. Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz showed that using a mobile phone for purchases at the pump is both safe and convenient, and the chain enabled all of its locations with contactless payment technology at the pumps (Outside Payment Terminals or OPTs) and inside the store at the cash register (Inside Payment Terminals or IPTs).
“Petroleum and convenience stores were among the pioneers in introducing contactless payments to consumers in the late ’90s, breaking ground for the technology that the entire payments industry is now adopting,” said Mohammad Khan, president and founder of Santa Clara, Calif.-based ViVOtech. “Now, with Wright Express and Sheetz taking the lead, companies in this industry are once more showing how mobile handsets will bring a new wave of rich experience to commercial payments.”
ViVOtech provided the complete end-to-end NFC mobile solution for this pilot, including a mobile wallet, Over The Air (OTA) fleet card provisioning infrastructure software, and contactless/NFC terminals previously installed at Sheetz locations.
“Our next steps are to work on a business model and evaluate how we can eventually be ready to offer commercial mobile payment services to our customers once NFC phones become widely available and accepted by our merchants,” said Lamer.