BP adopts 'tap and go' pay system

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 15/09/2012

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Many motorists will be able to "tap and go" to pay for fuel at BP petrol stations from today in a development the company hopes will cut queues at its counters.

BP said it had upgraded the eftpos systems in all its service stations to accept new credit and debit cards that incorporate Mastercard PayPass and Visa payWave technology.

These can be tapped against payment terminals rather than having to be inserted or swiped.

If customers have those cards, they won't be required to enter a pin or sign for purchases under $80.

Retailing manager Frank van Hattum said there were now more than a million Mastercard PayPass cards in circulation in New Zealand.

Normal eftpos transactions would also be speedier, he said, with the time needed to confirm payment cut from about 10 seconds to just a couple of seconds.

“This Labour Weekend will be the real test as customers take long trips to see family and friends over just a few days and we tend to see longer queues at our service stations. Less time for each transaction ought to mean we can get people back on the road more quickly and make the whole experience more seamless.”

BP joins a small number of retailers already accepting contactless card payments. McDonalds has done away with the need for Pins on transactions under $35 and has upgraded its payment terminals to accept "tap and go" payments but has not yet turned the feature on.

Other petrol station chains are close behind.

Z Energy said it was half-way through a $12 million upgrade of its payment systems and planned to trial contactless payments this year with a commitment to accepting them next year.

A more difficult decision for the chains is whether to let motorists "tap and go" at the pumps, by incorporating payment terminals on the forecourt.

While that might get customers back on the road faster, it would also reduce the likelihood of them making convenience purchases at the same time they refuelled.

BP spokesman Jonty Mills was non-committal. "That may be the future. We are always looking at new technology," he said.

An earlier version of this story said McDonalds was already operating "tap and go".

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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