The idea of a customer-facing app solution is familiar to stakeholders in the electric vehicle (EV)-charging industry, because many brands initially entered the market with closed subscription schemes – often based on mobile apps. As we move towards an open network where anybody can pay for a vehicle charge with their card or eWallet, the app-based approach is still relevant – but for different reasons.
In this short article, we’ll introduce the key benefits of app-based payments for service stations, and we’ll show how these benefits can also be enjoyed by key players in the EV-charging world.
Important Lessons: Learning from Fuel Brand App Projects
CCV works with some of the biggest fuel brands in the world – providing payment terminals, acquiring services, and payment processing for service stations around Europe. But we’ve also worked on some exciting new digital projects, such as facilitating payments in branded customer-facing mobile apps.
For example, with CCV’s help, one major fuel brand has launched an app that recognises when the user is at a refilling station and allows them to select a pump, refuel their vehicle, and drive away – with all payment taking place automatically in the background. The app can issue digital receipts, and the customer can save loyalty points for future refuelling and/or other discounts and special offers.
This solution makes use of pre-authorisation, which is also how it works if a customer uses a card or mobile wallet at a self-service pump. A certain amount of money is reserved on the customer’s card before refuelling, and then the final amount is calculated and taken from the customer’s (bank) account.
This brand wanted to launch in the Netherlands, so we alerted them to different Dutch payment habits – for example, the use of iDEAL and the low levels of credit card and PayPal usage. We were able to build custom solutions for them to release the app in the Netherlands while creating a frictionless experience.
So, why does this story matter to stakeholders in the EV-charging industry?
Applying Our Knowledge and Experience to EV-Charging Solutions
The process of charging an electric vehicle is not that far removed from refuelling a car with petrol. The only real difference is the time it takes. In fact, open EV-charging payments also utilise pre-authorisation, with a maximum of €25 being reserved on the customer’s card before the final amount is calculated.
As traditional fuel brands shift their positioning to become energy providers for mobility, they’re acquiring some EV-charging operators and partnering with others. This new relationship, and the adoption of electric charging as a mainstream service, unlocks all sorts of opportunities for brands.
By allowing app-based payments, the most obvious benefit is that the customer doesn’t need to get their wallet out, scan their bank card, or tap in PIN. This makes payment convenient in the simplest sense. But there are deeper advantages of an app-based system for both the customer and the operator:
- Added-value offers: Brands can deliver special offers to individual customers via their app, using buyer data to customise discounts on refreshments and give compelling personal rewards.
- Access to extra services: Customers can easily order – and pay for – extra services. This could be car-washing, maintenance, tyre checks, or anything else they need from the service station.
- Loyalty point visibility: The customer can build up points, which are easily visible in the app and can be spent whenever they want. This breeds continued loyalty, and can even be gamified.
- Data collection: When there’s a large proportion of customers using an app to charge and pay, the brands have a wealth of data to tap into, which will help them understand drivers better.
These benefits, coupled with the frictionless digital payment experience (i.e. no card or PIN entry), make app-based solutions very appealing to service stations and EV-charging operators. And it’s important to note: CCV has the experience to deliver this. We can facilitate secure payments for your branded app.
What Should EV-Charging Operators Consider?
While our experience with fuel brands and service stations does provide a lot of inspiration, there are a few important nuances for EV-charging operators to consider before integrating app-based payments.
Naturally, the time it takes to charge an electric car is much longer than refuelling with petrol – even on fast charges. This means that on the technical side of the payment processing, pre-authorisation needs to allow for that time – because it outstrips the 15 minutes maximum time limit for traditional fuel.
Furthermore, the popularity of fuel cards is something for EV-charging operators to remember. As the fuel card brands start to get involved in EVs, more consumers will expect to be able to pay with a fuel card at their chargepoint of choice. CCV is helping major service station brands to accept local debit and credit card schemes in their apps, and we intend to do the same for EV charging stakeholders.
Summary: Integrating App-Based Payments for EV Charging
At CCV, we bring knowledge and experience to the table. We’re used to developing custom self-service payment solutions – both in physical format, and on the back-end of digital products. We’re familiar with the fuel industry and the EV-charging industry, and this puts us in a unique position to learn from both.
So, if you’re looking to integrate payments into a branded app for your service station or EV-charging business, you can rely on CCV to understand your customer journey and recommend a payment solution which is frictionless, secure, and integrated smartly with your commercial environment.
About the Author
Niek Seuren contributes his international sales expertise and knowledge of the mobility industry to EV Charging. With a degree in Marketing Management and having held previous sales and marketing positions in various industries, Niek brings a wide range of experience, professionalism, and creativity to CCV. He has been part of our sales teams since mid-2020 as a Key Account Manager. You can contact Niek >> HERE