In order to help cut down on Credit Card fraud and increase convenience, gas stations have been implementing mobile fuel payment options. This allows you to pay at the pump without inserting a credit card.
Prior to this, Credit Card companies have been implementing EMV. This is the chip “dip” or NFC contactless payment that we all have seen recently. These are much more secure because they cannot easily be copied/duplicated. Credit Card fraud in Europe was terrible until they started implementing this. It was more terrible than in the United States which is why the United States later adopted it.
The Problem Mobile Fuel Payment Helps
Nearly all retailers are required to provide this option today in the United States. That is, except for Gas Stations. They received an extension. Perpetrators of fraud realize this and therefore it is not uncommon for Credit Card skimmers to be installed. Skimmers help people intending to commit fraud by capturing card information as it is inserted. It is usually combined with a camera to help capture pin entries or other values on the card.
How Does Mobile Fuel Payment actually help this?
I have yet to see a fuel pump that accepts a chip card so any card inserted with a chip has its magnetic strip read. This is susceptible to cloning. Mobile Fuel Payment saves you from having to actually insert a card.
Many of the major gas companies have their own app.
Near me, Chevron and Sunoco both accept this but many more also accept it. Since those are the two major chains near me, I will provide my thoughts on it.
Chevron’s Mobile Fuel Payment
Chevron’s app was easy to download and register. Payment methods are unfortunately scarce. It accepts only PayPal and their own branded Advantage Card or Gift cards. I had PayPal already, so I linked my account to the app. I then went to try to use it and the payment failed. In PayPal, my checking account was the only linked account. The Chevron app gave me no indication of this but PayPal did email me with a failure. The Chevron app also hung in this scenario and I had to “force stop” it to recover. I had to do some digging with PayPal and then it suggested I add my debit/credit card.
After the first experience, I decided to update my bank information and add a credit card. Unfortunately the second time resulted in the same issue. To be fair though, this decline was from PayPal, not Chevron. It seems like fuel charge issues are common though as they have an article for this – https://www.paypal.com/us/smarthelp/article/why-was-my-fuel-purchase-declined-troubleshooting-tips-faq4022
Roughly 30 minutes on hold with PayPal, I gave up. I did not want to waste any more of my Sunday. Maybe I will try again later when they’re better staffed or wait until the Chevron App supports Google Pay.
Sunoco’s Mobile Fuel Payment
Sunoco’s app has been very intuitive and it accepts Google Pay, major credit cards and their own rewards and gift cards. The process was very straight forward. It provided estimates on time to start as well as a timer that I had to complete the start fueling. The Google Pay method worked flawlessly.
Some of the common features between these apps are the ability to review receipts and find locations that support Mobile Fuel Payment. I like to keep a copy of my receipts, at least for a few days. In the event that I get a fill of bad gas, I want proof I went to the station. It has never happened but there will be that day.
One thing to note is just because Chevron supports Mobile Fuel Payment does not mean every station does. The stations are almost always a franchise with owners deciding when to perform upgrades. Even if they were not, it still takes time to upgrade all of the stations to support this.
Other Stations and Options
Many other gas stations offer this. I will not dive into the research for that. My hope is just to open you to the idea that your chain likely has this implemented. Feel free to test yours out and comment back with your experience.
If you have not looked into using mobile fuel payment options and you keep getting your credit card compromised, give it a try. It is very likely to help with this situation.