BP is investing millions of rands in a high-tech, convenient way to reduce cash on forecourts through the national launch of its portable payment terminal called Swipa.
Any debit card can now be used at BP forecourts for fuel purchases and for the first time motorists do not need to get out of their car, nor will their card leave their sight, making it safe and convenient.
BP is to offer Swipa at over 450 of its BP service stations nationally.
Sipho Maseko, BP’s chief operating officer says BP is investing about R20-million in infrastructure and operational cost to support the rollout of its portable payment terminals at its service station network.
“Because of the regulated fuel price in South Africa, debit card transactions on forecourts have been an issue in the past because of the merchant fee, typical to these transactions.
“However BP, recognizing that crime continues to be a major concern on forecourts, has elected to absorb the associated costs for now with a view to reduce the risks associated with handling cash onsite.”
In the past, South African motorists have had to pay for fuel by cash, garage or fleet cards but now they can purchase fuel with any debit card without having to transact at a till point or draw money from an ATM.
“When filling up at a BP service station the attendant will hand you the Swipa through which the fuel is to be paid and allow you to conclude the transaction by inputting your pin number when paying with a debit card.
“This method of payment will significantly reduce transaction time and at the same time provide the customer with transaction visibility – and it’s safer because there is no cash involved”, reiterates Maseko.
Other benefits include reduced forecourt congestion and fraud possibilities as the card is not taken away to be swiped at a central point, but this is done right at the pump in one’s car.
James Clarke, Visa International’s Head of Marketing for Sub-Saharan Africa says cards are inherently safer than cash. “Unlike cash, if you lose your card, you can notify your bank and there should be no financial loss.
“Allowing debit cards to be used for fuel purchases is a hugely democratic move by BP. Far more people have debit cards than garage cards so these safety benefits will now be available to more consumers than ever when it comes to fuel purchases. It benefits both local cardholders and tourists, and is a major step in modernizing the industry.”
Douglas Henderson, assistant vice-president: Africa at MasterCard Worldwide, says: “The introduction of debit card acceptance locations at BP petrol stations offers increased possibilities and convenience to South African consumers and businesses alike. MasterCard will continue to develop innovative solutions that benefit customer banks, merchants and cardholders, offering faster, more secure and smarter methods of payment for an increasing array of transactions.”
The new portable payment system will complement the existing payment methods already offered at BP service stations and customers can use either their Maestro or Visa Electron debit card; garage or fleet card, or the FuelMaster Express and fleet tags for payment.