More Brands Following Tech and Automakers into Connected Cars

As consumers seek frictionless payments, businesses are looking to connect with captive in-car customers.

Most recently, energy giant Chevron was reported to have created an app for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto whereby those with mobile accounts can pay for their fuel purchases inside their vehicles and earn rewards.

“Chevron is passionate about ensuring a world-class customer experience, and bringing consumers all the features and benefits of our mobile apps to their in-car experience is our latest advancement,” the company’s director of global customer experience Tracey Gardiner told the publication. “From the comfort of their vehicles, consumers can find stations with the amenities they want — convenience stores or car washes — as well as the energy they need.”

 In an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster earlier this year, Kevin Mull, director of mobility solutions at Bosch, noted that these kinds of initiatives to expand payments beyond the pay-at-the-pump scenario would transform the industry.

“These innovations will completely change the customer experience,” he said, “and the payments domain, in general, is being revolutionized by vehicle connectivity.”

Additionally, in July, Sunoco announced a partnership with fleet payment solutions platform Car IQ that will allow secure fuel payments without a physical credit card, with drivers just entering the pump number, getting fuel and driving off, the purchase is automatically charged.

It is not only fuel payments getting the in-car treatment. Consumers are also increasingly able to order food from their vehicles’ interfaces. For instance, in September, fast-casual chain Panera Bread kicked off a partnership with CarPlay by which iPhone users who are members of Panera’s MyPanera loyalty program can order via the fast-casual brand’s app through their car’s dashboard with CarPlay.

Plus, in March, in-car retail technology provider announced an in-car commerce app to let shoppers order goods from their car dashboard, piloting the service with BurgerFi and Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza & Wings.

Moreover, JPMorgan CEO of Merchant Services Max Neukirchen told Webster last year that the car is “becoming a device,” connecting us to various activities, including payments. Sooner rather than later, he contended, we won’t need separate devices or apps to get gas — the car will pay for it — and vehicles are also being increasingly used to purchase and enjoy content.

“All of this gets consumed by the car in the car and can be paid for through a connected car,” said Neukirchen.

Indeed, the bar is being raised for businesses to provide frictionless payment experiences. Research from PYMNTS’ recent study Navigating Big Retail’s Digital Shift: The New Payments Strategy Evolution, created in collaboration with ACI Worldwide, which draws from a survey of 300 United States and United Kingdom retailers, finds that two-thirds of retailers are shifting resources toward more convenient payment options and a broader range of payment choices.

Get the study: Navigating Big Retail’s Digital Shift: The New Payments Strategy Evolution