Amazon has partnered with oil giant ExxonMobil and financial services provider Fiserv to enable Alexa customers to make gas payments through the voice assistant at gas stations. When a customer pulls up his vehicle at a gas station, he can summon Alexa, confirm the station and pump number and Alexa will process payment and activate the pump for usage.
The payment will be channeled through Amazon Pay, the e-commerce company’s online payment service. Amazon believes this will make transactions seamless, as customers will not need to get out of their vehicles before the pumps are activated. Although this is not cutting down the time that people spend at the gas station, it does help during times of inclement weather as consumers can stay inside their vehicles and not stand beside the gas pump pushing in their cards for payment.
Amazon Alexa will be available for gas payment across 11,500 Exxon and Mobil gas stations in the U.S. later this year. This option will first be rolled out to customers who have Alexa enabled on their vehicles, Echo Auto, and other associated Amazon mobility devices. Once the customer’s payment information is set up on Alexa, Fiserv’s digital commerce gateway will ensure transactions go through securely.
By not using a card to pay at the gas station, consumers also reduce the risk of their cards getting skimmed at the pump.
“We’re excited to bring new technology and better experiences to the gas station,” said Eric Carmichael, fuels marketing manager at ExxonMobil America, in a statement. “We build and seek out technology that will wow our consumers, providing both ease of use and security.”
Trucking fleets also can upgrade from fuel cards to voice assistants like Alexa for fuel payment. This can be an effective method to curtail fuel card fraud, as ill-intentioned drivers cannot fill up personal vehicles or trade fuel cards for cash.
Hackers can make backdoor entries into merchants’ corporate networks and gain access to payment card information. Magnetic stripe card payments are usually targeted as they lack the security features that EMV cards possess.
The fuel market does face some challenges in pushing EMV cards in fuel stations, as card networks will not make merchants liable for fraud until October, allowing sellers to take their time in migrating to payment systems that are more secure.
For Amazon, payment at gas stations is yet another use case for Amazon Pay and an added feature to integrate Alexa into the everyday lives of consumers. Digital business-to-business (B2B) payments are on the rise, making it a $22 trillion industry globally.
The in-vehicle voice assistant based payments is a segment that is expected to add more services over time, based on the success of the current fuel payments feature. That said, adoption of the gas payment feature might not come easy, as paying for fuel via Alexa might involve consumers to go back and forth to confirm and activate gas pumps. However, initial adopters should set the wheels in motion, further helping Amazon fine-tune the feature to make it more user-friendly for the broader audience.