JLR and Shell Roll Out Mobile Payments at the Pump

Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR) and Shell are literally rolling out a new mobile payment system, allowing consumers in the U.K. to pay at the pump from their vehicles’ touch screen. And as Robert Gray reports, the new platform may drive more adoption of mobile payments.

The two companies claim it’s the first payments system of its kind. It allows consumers to pay at the pump at Shell’s U.K. service stations by using the infotainment touchscreen to select how much gasoline they want and then pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Android Pay is scheduled to be added later this year. 
An electronic receipt is displayed onscreen to alert drivers that they have paid and an email copy is available that can be used for accounting and expenses software. And JLR officials say even in the digital age the time-honored tradition continues of paying for the driver’s gas on road trips—the account owner will just need to sign in and authorize payment.
“All of the jigsaw pieces had to come together,” explains Peter Virk, Director of Connected Car and Future Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, continuing, “The introduction of our InControl system which allows our customers to access great new features and apps via their car, payment solutions like Apple Pay and PayPal needed to be integrated, and smart fuel-pumps were also required, which Shell installed.”
 
In an interview with Open Mobile Media, Virk says the automaker expects a “high uptake” for the mobile payments service app that is available on late model Jaguars and Land Rovers with updated InControl apps. The payment partnership platform will be expanding later this year and will be available in other geographies outside the U.K. later this year.
Shell alone claims to operate more than 43,000 sites in more than 70 nations, serves around 30 million customers every day. Each year the Shell Retail network sells some 200 billion liters of fuel and rings up $6 billion in convenience store retails sales.
 
Payments Going Mobile
Other OEMs have introduced payment services, including Ford’s FordPay and GM’s OnStar Go. JLR and Shell contend their new system differs from phone-based payment methods by using geolocation technology and a cloud based pre-payment check with the PayPal or Apple Pay wallet.
Chris Tweedt, research analyst, mobile product research team at Parks Associates agrees that the inclusion of PayPal and Apple Pay makes the JLR system unique among its peers. “Although the app itself identifies Shell stations via GPS and allows users to identify their pump and initiate payment, the payment occurs through Apple Pay or PayPal by utilizing the connected smartphone’s internet connection.”
Tweedt continues, “GM’s OnStar Go, by contrast, has partnered with MasterCard to allow customers to pay with MasterPass and does not utilize the customer’s smartphone. Volvo’s Park & Pay solution uses a credit card on file.”
 
Stuart Blyde, Shell’s business development manager for the connected car programme, tells Open Mobile Media that this payment partnership is the first step in an evolving process: “We believe in cloud-based payment and have invested more in our cloud capability than to invest on each local retail site system and local hardware.”
Tweedt, of Parks Associates, notes this nascent technology will soon be commonplace. “Jaguar’s in-car payment system is part of a growing trend among automakers to make their customers’ time in their vehicle convenient and efficient. We expect in-car payments to become increasingly popular in new vehicles.”
This form of mobile payments may help drive the overall category of mobile spending into the hundreds of billions of dollars in the next five years. The estimates vary but Tweedt’s firm, Parks Associates, puts the number at more than $120 billion in the U.S. alone this year, rising to over $680 billion by the end of 2021.
 
Meanwhile, McKinsey & Co. forecasts global mobile payments to reach $2.2 trillionby 2020. But the firm predicts headwinds in some regions as growth has slowed, so perhaps new platforms such as those created by automakers will boost adoption and usage whether it’s at the pump or elsewhere.
Tweedt sees an acceleration of these partnerships as the technology catches on with more automakers and consumers become even more accustomed to making these types of purchases: “We expect automakers to continue to make partnerships that allow their customers to pay from the car’s infotainment screen. In-car payment capabilities give automakers a competitive advantage and can, in some cases, serve as an additional revenue opportunity for automakers.”
Virk wouldn’t tip his company’s hand, but said, “Jaguar Land Rover is always reviewing opportunities to work with other technology and service providers, including parking, tolls, and restaurants…we want to launch cashless fuel payment with our cars first and are now looking into the other opportunities available.”
Shell’s Blyde sees the convenience factor spreading to other offerings at its stations, “We are looking to digitize other services like paying for the car wash or ordering and paying for drinks from any digital screen the customer chooses.”
 
And while this agreement is only open to JLR customers, Blyde sees other automakers connecting to the big oil company’s pumps. “Shell has strong relationships with many OEM networks and you may see other announcements like this in the future. This work with Jaguar Land Rover has worked because their technology is simple, they are easy to work with, and flexible. Others may have spoken about pilot projects in this area but we are the first company to implement a countrywide, in-car payment solution with an OEM at mass scale.”
Tweedt also sees OEMs teaming up with other consumer companies, especially ones that have already made the move to mobile payments. “These partnerships are likely to begin with companies that popular payments apps already such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts and parking apps. Whether partnerships extend to other retails and how far they extend, depends on whether customers adopt the functionality.”
 
So what’s next on the road to further integration of mobile payments into mobile conveyances?
Shell’s upgraded gas pumps still take credit cards, for the moment, and you can always go inside and pay cash if the store’s open, but down the road Blyde sees “the need for payment at the pump hardware being redundant.”
In fact, the executive says Shell is “committed to the digital and connected car space for the long-term. Blyde adds, “As the world slowly moves towards becoming a cashless, autonomous society retailers like Shell need to accommodate those customers who no longer use cash. Those who do not follow the trend may find they’re left behind.”
Tweedt, the analyst, says, “Many automakers are integrating Amazon’s Alexa just like they would through a home device. Brands that support Alexa include, or will include, Audi, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Porsche, Volkswagen, and Volvo.”
So maybe you’ll just ask Alexa or another voice-activated bot to direct and drive you to fill up or to grab a burger, and the self-driving car will wind its way down to the drive-through, skip the first window, and pay for the meal in the process. All you’ll need to do is decide if you want fries or not.