Consumer Payment Card News

Speedpass Takes Off in Washington

Starting today, drivers pulling into participating Mobil service stations throughout the greater Washington metropolitan area will be introduced to Mobil Speedpass, a new technology that provides motorists with the fastest way yet to purchase gasoline.

Customers enrolled in the Mobil Speedpass 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. The Washington area is among the first where the new technology will be offered.

“Our research tells us that customers are looking for the fastest and easiest way to fill-up,” states local NBU Manager Steve Bottomly. “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,” Bottomly points out, “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 electronic payment methods 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, easy access to gasoline by automatically charging fuel purchases to a designated credit card.

To use the Speedpass system, motorists simply wave the key tag 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

To acquire a key tag, drivers must enroll in Mobil Speedpass. There are several ways to enroll: by phoning (800) 459-2266; by completing an enrollment form available at any participating Mobil service station; or through the Mobil Speedpass Internet web site at Customers indicate which credit card they want their Speedpass transaction billed to. Customers can designate any of the wide range of credit cards that Mobil accepts.

There is no cost to customers for the Speedpass key tag and no service charge for using the new technology to fill-up.

Within a few days of receipt of the enrollment information, a Speedpass key tag preprogrammed with a unique secure ID number, is mailed to the customer. Customers simply phone in to activate the device and begin using Speedpass immediately — similar to the activation process for credit cards.

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 system 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 Rullo, 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 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. In addition, other retail applications of Speedpass could be endless.

A Team of Technology Leaders

The technology for Mobil Speedpass was developed for Mobil in cooperation with Texas Instruments TIRIS(TM) and the Wayne Division of Dresser Industries. 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 petrochemcial 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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