Sionic Mobile Opens Up New Mobile Payments Option for Gas Stations

August 1, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Using mobile payments options at gas stations isn’t new; pay at the pump options has long been a possibility. Yet mobile payments at the pump have been a much trickier task to put into play, likely because gas stations are thin-margin businesses that don’t have a lot of extra cash on hand for technological advancement. Still, it’s about to get a little easier with Sionic Mobile, who recently launched the new ULink service to bring mobile payments into play without an intervening app.

ULink will be available with Gilbarco Veeder-Root stations, reports note, as the system is poised to link up with the Passport system available at those stations. This combined platform allows for fast and easy payments using a range of payment systems. It also offers support services to retailers, as well as “forecourt merchandising”, which Gilbarco Veeder-Root itself describes as a way to get customers to actually “…come inside your store and buy higher-margin goods.”

The ULink system works on several platforms, taking advantage of Google Cloud and a Visa payment management system known as CyberSource to effectively connect to point of sale operations. Though only participating gas stations will actually accept the ULink system, those who are will make payment as easy as arriving at the station, tapping a message that appears on their mobile device, and selecting a pump to actually pump their gas. If they aren’t already enrolled in that particular station’s breed of loyalty program, they can do so with a single screen tap.

Making mobile payments easier to use, and improving the number of places where they actually can be used, is always a welcome step forward. Establishing sufficient numbers of use cases to make mobile payments more than just a pleasant novelty is a good plan in general; the incorporation of loyalty programs goes even farther, and with the ULink system effectively making it possible to enjoy loyalty program options from a simple screen press, there’s a clear advantage here. If more gas stations take this concept on, the convenience could be a real competitive advantage, at least until it catches on wide-scale.

The ULink system may not make mobile payments mainstream by itself, but it’s tools like these that will deliver the most impact going forward.