Shell is bidding to improve the customer experience from this month in the UK, by letting motorists pay for their petrol using a PayPal app on their smartphones.
To make life easier for its customers, fuel major Shell is about to introduce a mobile payments system at the petrol pump. This customer-friendly move may well be a signal that the days when a driver has to get out of the vehicle and go into the petrol station store to pay are numbered. Shell has teamed up with PayPal to offer its mobile payment system via a smartphone app. The concept is simple: all you have to do is drive up to an available petrol pump, select the pump number on the Shell Motorist app or directly on the PayPal app and this will activate the petrol pump. Once you have filled up, you can drive away from the petrol station immediately, and a notification with a receipt will appear at once on your smartphone, confirming that the payment has been approved.
Shell intends to simplify the customer experience by introducing mobile payments at its petrol stations. 1,000 petrol stations in the UK are scheduled to take part in the launch phase.
Shell ran a pilot test on mobile payments in the UK back in 2013, and the encouraging results have now prompted the oil giant to launch the system country-wide. Starting this month, members of the Shell Drivers' Club will be able to try out the app at 1,000 selected petrol stations in the UK and all car drivers in the country will then be able to use it from later on in the year. “We’re committed to providing a fast, safe and secure service,” explains Shell UK Retail Marketing Manager Michael Hominick.
PayPal is the world’s leading dematerialised payment system. Four years ago, former President Scott Thompson actually predicted the end of the physical wallet by 2015. Teaming up with PayPal therefore looks to be a smart move for Shell. Last year the online payments specialist announced it had chosen the UK with its 80% smartphone penetration rate as its entry point into Europe for the launch of its mobile payments app. The UK is in fact the US-based payment service’s second biggest market outside its home territory. To date over 8,000 shops and restaurants in the UK accept the PayPal app and the number of active users in Britain is now put at close to 19 million.
How users worldwide feel about using mobile payment systems
Take-up of mobile payments has certainly been slower in Europe than in the US as shown by a report from UK secure mobile payment solutions company Omlis. In 2014, purchases via mobile accounted for 17% of transactions in the US compared with 12.4% in Europe. But when it comes to transactions at the petrol pump, mobile payments could really provide a much enhanced and more user-friendly customer experience which in turn could stimulate faster adoption. As Rob Harper, Director, Mobile Commerce at PayPal UK says, “At PayPal, we’ve always believed people will use their mobile phones to pay if there’s a clear benefit.”