Forecourt Payment Bake-off: OPT v Mobile Pay

by 13 January 2020

Consumer expectations around the way they purchase the products and services they use every day are evolving all the time, and that change extends to the forecourt.

Your customers are not just living increasingly busy lives but are also more and more dependent on technology. As a result, they’re becoming accustomed to being able to pay for what they need in a way that suits them, reducing waiting times and cutting out the need to interact with a cashier all together.

As such, alternative methods of payment are becoming commonplace on the forecourt, in particular Outdoor Payment Terminals (OPT) and mobile payment apps. But with two competing, or perhaps even complimentary options available to forecourt owners, exploring the pros and cons of each solution is the only way to identify the right fit for you.

Let’s take a look.

Outdoor Payment Terminals

With OPT’s, a selection of pumps include individual payment terminals, or a single ‘standalone’ unit can control multiple pumps. Both options are typically for credit and debit cards, as well as some fuel card payments.

The main benefit of this is that anyone with a payment card is able to quickly and easily complete their transaction after they’ve refuelled without the need to enter the forecourt store. In theory this should help to speed up transactions, reducing the waiting time for drivers and helping you to process more sales throughout the day.

However, as much as OPT’s offers a convenient method of payment for customers, there are some draw backs. Firstly, installation of these units is often expensive, as your existing pumps may need to be replaced by, or adapted to become, OPT compatible units that include the required payment terminals.

Equally, as with any refuelling pump, these units require regular maintenance, not only to ensure the continued operation of the pump itself but also to maintain the payment terminal. There is also a need to ensure compliance with PCI standards, often updated every few years, which can mean that some parts of the OPT’s need to be replaced completely.

There is also an important security aspect to OPT’s. By including payment terminals on the forecourt, these units are at an increased risk to theft and fraud. Although they don’t contain any cash, these units can be used for card skimming, where small devices and cameras are used to capture customer card and PIN details. As such, it is important that these terminals are regularly monitored, updated and checked to ensure their continued security.

Mobile payments

As far as this solution goes, the clue is in the name. Unlike OPT, there is no need to include a payment terminal for the pumps, so there is no retrofitting or replacement. Customers simply pay for their transaction online via a mobile app which means that they don’t need to carry cards with them to pay for their fuel. As you’d expect, the lack of additional hardware also helps to reduce the cost of implementation significantly.

Also, no additional hardware means there are no incremental maintenance commitments for the pumps, meaning the long-term costs are reduced. As all payments are processed through the customer’s own mobile device there is also no way to ‘skim’ their payment details via a physical terminal meaning a reduced risk of theft and fraud. It’s for this reason that many of the major fuel companies, such as Shell and BP, are increasingly keen for their sites to consider mobile payments over OPT options.

Another major benefit of mobile payments is that customer apps can also be linked to loyalty schemes. You can help customers to easily collect loyalty points as they process each transaction and even send special offers and marketing notifications to help attract future business. As a result, you’ll be able to gather information about your customers, where they refuel, what time they visit and how frequently, and use this information to offer further loyalty for their valued custom.

One major obstacle is that any mobile payment applications requires an internet connection, so sites with poor phone connectivity or limited broadband access could see regular issues with payments. Clearly, if internet services to your site are not sufficient, this may mean further work and cost putting the IT right to make the mobile pay work as your customers expect.

Equally, while many younger customers that have grown up with mobile devices are already accustomed to using mobile pay on a regular basis, older generations may be less familiar. This presents an additional obstacle as those customers can take some time to get up to speed with a new way of processing their transactions. In most cases however, mobile pay apps are very intuitive, so this learning period is short.

This also creates concerns in regards the speed of transaction, as customers unfamiliar with the process can take longer to process payments than those using more traditional methods.

Your options with TLM

We understand that many of our customers are looking to incorporate these payment solutions at their site, which is why we’ve made efforts to ensure we deliver the best solutions possible.
The Lafon APL3 is recognised as one of the world’s most secure outdoor payment terminals, built to meet the highest PCI standards and designed to be easily upgradeable to meet future requirements with individual components fully upgrade-able.

Built with pin on glass, the APL3 also boasts the world’s largest OPT touchscreen as well as an extra-large paper roll for receipts to reduce the level of terminal maintenance required. You can also add cameras, microphones and speakers for extra security, with the option to use the pump as an emergency call point for unmanned sites.

evoPOS, our next-generation EPOS. can be easily linked to Outdoor Payment terminals and integrated with a range of applications and loyalty schemes including Shell Mobile Pay, BP Me and Esso to facilitate mobile payments.

To learn more about alternative forecourt payment solutions, integration with evoPOS and to discuss the best options for you, get in touch with a member of the team.

Related news

Get the latest technology for convenience and fuel

Learn how we’ve helped over 1900 businesses become smarter and more profitable through technology

Talk to an expert today

Pride in convenience and fuel