Phillips 66, Honda Show Off In-Dash Mobile Payments for Gas

January 8, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Winter can be an especially difficult time to get gas for your car. Stand outside in the bitter cold pumping gas into the tank, then go inside and pay—reverse the order in many cases—it’s all a recipe for spending a lot of time out in the worst weather around. However, thanks to mobile payments technology, we may at least be able to slim this process down. Recently, Phillips 66 and Honda Developer Studio revealed that they were working on just such a system to use mobile payments right from a car’s dashboard.

This actually goes along with an earlier release, when Phillips 66 brought out its mobile app back in early 2018. This year, meanwhile, will see all its gas stations—including 76 and Conoco outlets—getting in on the mobile action as well. With the new in-car connection, meanwhile, it will basically provide another way to readily access the mobile app, through the car’s in-dash entertainment system.

Additionally, this dovetails into a separate Phillips 66 development, when it brought Visa Checkout capability to the mobile app. Customers will be able to both find the nearest gas station that accepts the mobile payment system, as well as pay for any gas about to be pumped from the same interface. The in-dash version isn’t ready yet, but if it isn’t being shown at either the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) event or the North American International Auto Show that follows, it will be a surprise.

Sadly, this idea only has so much utility; considering the sheer numbers who already have smartphones, building this option into an in-dash display only goes so far. There is very little functional difference, after all, between pressing a car’s touchscreen and using a phone’s touchscreen. Throw in the comparatively slim overlap between people who drive Hondas—and therefore have access to this technology—and the total number of Phillips 66 / 76 / Conoco customers, and this flash in the pan won’t even be all that pronounced.

Still, it’s not a bad idea in and of itself, it’s just that it doesn’t represent much of a reason to actually use it. It’s a real gee-whiz prospect, and one that probably won’t go far to begin with.