A few weeks ago I stepped into the future, even if it was just a tiny baby step. One of my local gas stations finally came out with a simple and convenient way to pay for gas with Apple Pay. Exxon Mobile Speedpass+ is an iOS app that uses geolocation combined with the user verification of the pump number they are getting ready to use to authorize payment for gas.
Why is this a big deal?
Two reasons, speed and security. Is anyone else annoyed by the number of key presses it takes to pay for gas with a credit card at a typical gas pump? First you slide your card, then you choose credit or debit, then you have to enter your PIN or zip code and finally you get to choose if you want an overpriced car wash (oh, they really hope you aren't paying attention by this point and just hit "yes"). Then to add insult to injury at some gas station pumps the beep notifications are so loud it makes it your teeth hurt. Maybe the whole payment authorization process isn't really all that time consuming, but it is bloody complicated. Not anymore.
The other reason why this new Exxon app is so noteworthy is that it brings the privacy and security of Apple Pay to the gas pump. I've had my debit card either stolen or used illegally twice at a gas station. It's a place most people visit at least once if not more a week so why not make it a lot more secure. This new app by Exxon lets you setup the default payment type and one of those payment options is Apple Pay. It is worth noting that typically when you use Apple Pay the vendor has no idea who you are, the information provided to the vendor by Apple Pay is very minimal. But in this case the Speedpass+ app requires you to setup an account, so you aren't completely anonymous.
So how does it work?
Before you do anything you should research to make sure you have an Exxon or Mobile station near you that supports the new Speedpass+ payment method. Visit this website to find location near you and make sure one of those locations supports Speedpass+. If there is a participating station near you, then download the free Speedpass+ app and setup an account with the app. When you are setting up your account within the app it allows you to make the default payment type Apple Pay, but make sure you already have Apple Pay setup and authorized on your phone first. You can also setup preferences like "don't ever prompt me for a car wash" and even receipt preferences (you can have them emailed to you, printed out at the pump, both or neither). You can also setup an additional layer of security and require a passcode to unlock the app (but if you use a passcode for your phone this really isn't necessary).
Once you have the app setup you are ready to go fill up your tank. Pull up to any of the pumps at a Speedpass+ enabled location and open the app on your phone while you are still in the car. The app will use your current location to figure out which Exxon or Mobile station you are at but you have to have location services enabled within the app. If you don't have location services enabled or for some reason don't want to, the app will prompt you to scan the QR code located on the pump. Then you type in the pump number you are parked next to and hold your finger on the TouchID button to authorize the payment with Apple Pay. Once authorized you have 30 seconds to start pumping gas or the pump will not longer be authorized (a security feature). It is so much faster and easier using the Speedpass+ app and what's even better is no more annoying gas pump payment interfaces.
One caveat here...as of right now the only credit cards you can use with Speedpass+ and pay with Apple Pay are VISA, MasterCard and American Express.