Consumer Payment Card News

Speedpass Unleashed

Mobil Corporation announced Wednesday the national roll-out of the ‘Mobil SpeedPass’ system by May 1. The launch follows a six-month pilot involving 10,000 customers in the greater St. Louis area. Customers enrolled in the program will simply wave a ‘Speedpass’ key tag or transponder in front of designated gasoline pumps and will be able to immediately fill-up and drive away without ever opening wallets or purses for credit cards or cash. Customers pre-designate the credit card to be used for Mobil transactions when applying for the new service. Mobile expects to distribute one million Mobil ‘Speedpass’ key tags this year. Mobil developed the system in cooperation with Texas Instruments and Dresser Industries

Mobil Corp. (NYSE: MOB) announced today it will introduce Mobil Speedpass to motorists nationwide, providing the fastest way yet to purchase gasoline.

Customers enrolled in the program will simply wave a miniature electronic device attached to their key chain in front of designated gasoline pumps and will be able to immediately fill-up and drive away without ever opening wallets or purses for credit cards or cash. During a six month trial in St. Louis, customers valued the increased speed and simplicity of the new Speedpass technology.

“Our research tells us that customers are looking for the fastest and easiest way to fill-up,” states Brian Baker, Mobil’s Chief Operating Officer, North America Marketing and Refining. “We answered this need in 1986 by pioneering pay-at-the-pump technology that allows customers to use credit cards right at the pump.”

“Now,” Baker announces, “Mobil Speedpass simplifies the process even more, making gasoline buying even faster. With Speedpass we’ve removed the steps of finding a credit card, inserting it into the pump waiting for credit card authorization. Just wave the Speedpass key tag and within seconds you’re filling-up.”

Similar to state-of-the-art toll tags used to reduce waiting time at highway toll booths, Speedpass is a proprietary technology that employs radio signals. The electronic system located in the pump “talks” (communicates) with miniature “transponder” devices that are attached to customers’ key rings. Together, these electronic devices provide quick, simple access to gasoline by automatically charging fuel purchases to a credit card. Customers can designate any of the wide range of credit cards that Mobil accepts when they fill out a Speedpass application.

To activate the Speedpass system, motorists simply wave the key tag, which Mobil provides at no cost, at the pump. Instantly, a light located at the pump turns on when the Speedpass system is activated to let the customer know when to begin refueling.

How It Works

The technology for Mobil Speedpass centers around the use of radio frequency signals and was developed for Mobil in cooperation with Texas Instruments TIRIS and the Wayne Division of Dresser Industries.

Speedpass key tags contain miniature transponders, small radio-like devices which are preprogrammed with a unique secure ID number. When a customer uses the key tag at a designated Speedpass station, the gasoline pump sends out a radio signal which powers the key tag allowing it to send back its unique ID code. Instantly, the Speedpass system recognizes the individual customer and activates the pump. The customer is immediately free to select the grade of gasoline and fill-up.

Simultaneously, the Speedpass system contacts Mobil’s centralized credit department to verify current credit information, and, in turn, charges the customer’s designated credit card. The customer’s credit card number remains outside the Speedpass signal system, maintaining the confidentiality of that information.

According to Baker, Speedpass technology opens the way for new formats of the transponder device which can be affixed to a vehicle and automatically read when the car pulls up to the gas pump. Such devices could be used to expand the function of Speedpass to include such customer services as determining when a vehicle requires an oil change or tune-up and other “diagnostic” services.

Mobil will introduce Speedpass at service stations in its key markets from coast to coast in 1997. Initially, the company’s goal is to distribute one million Speedpass key tags to customers who sign up for the service.

A Team Of Technology Leaders

Mobil has been an industry leader in the development of customer-oriented electronic payment systems, including bank debit cards and pump-located Customer Activated Terminals. Mobil is a leading oil, natural gas and petrochemical company. In the U.S., the corporation markets gasoline in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

TIRIS (Texas Instruments Registration and Identification System) advanced radio frequency identification (RFID) technology controls, detects and tracks valuable objects and people. TIRIS offers a range of both high and low RFID systems that are keys to reliable, accurate data collection for empowered information processing.

The Wayne Division of Dresser Industries, Inc., is a world-leading manufacturer of integrated retail fueling systems. The Division employs 2,535 people worldwide and 1,189 in the United States. Wayne has been a part of Dresser Industries since 1968.

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