Shell & PayPal Get Together For Mobile Payments

July 24, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

Getting gas is a pretty mundane part of life. That weekly, biweekly, or whatever trip to the pumps to get the necessary fuel to keep one mobile is important but a little dull. It only gets worse when it’s raining heavily or is freezing cold, and some gas stations aren’t the safest. However, coming soon to a wide range of gas stations in the U.K., a new program called “Fill Up and Pay” looks to help users gas up without leaving the vehicle.

A handful of stations implemented the service first, and after the initial testing went well, Shell gas stations turned to PayPal to expand the Fill Up and Pay service to “hundreds” of new stations. Shell notes that the measure is a direct response to customers who wanted such a service to make payment faster and easier, and reports suggest Fill Up and Pay does just that.

With Fill Up and Pay, users download the Shell app to mobile devices, then link a PayPal account and add a five-digit security code. Once that’s in place, the user can then activate the app and leave the phone on. The user is still required to exit the car to put the fuel pump nozzle in the tank port, but after that, the user can pump gas until a pre-determined maximum spending limit is reached. Upon reaching the limit, the app arranges the cash transfer, gets a receipt, and handles any loyalty points involved in the transaction.

While there’s still a certain physical process involved, this app can actually be a big help. With so many gas stations these days retaining little compunction for forcing the user to pay for gas he or she doesn’t actually get until it’s pumped into the car—not to mention forcing a return trip to the cash register should the user overestimate the amount of gas needed—there would be a clear demand for a means to fill up without having to go any further away from the car than need be. Sure, it would be even better if there were way to fill up while completely remaining in the vehicle, but that’s a development likely to hit for electric cars and wireless charging rather than for automated hoses trying desperately to find a gas tank.

Still, for all those times I’ve had to plunge into the boiling heat, freezing cold or pouring rain to pay for a tank of gas, I can definitely see where Fill Up and Go would have some real impact. Whether or not it reaches Shell stations in other countries as well remains to be seen, but it may be a dream closer to coming true than ever.