- 7-Eleven has launched a pilot for contactless fuel purchases at some stores in North and South Orlando, Florida; North Texas; and Woodbridge, Virginia, according to a company press release.
- The pilot allows customers to use mobile payment options or Siri voice commands to pay for fuel through the 7-Eleven app. In order to use the contactless feature, customers must have the latest version of the app downloaded and have a verified phone number in their 7-Eleven loyalty account. They then choose their fuel type and how much they want to pay.
- Customers who use the app will receive 11 cents back per gallon for their first seven fill-ups and three cents per gallon for every fill-up after that.
The adoption of contactless payment services, including mobile wallets and scan-and-go, has risen sharply during the pandemic. These programs allow shoppers to collect their goods and pay without having to touch a screen or even go through the checkout line, thus reducing interaction with common spaces and surfaces.
Although 7-Eleven doesn't reference COVID-19, its new payment service is timed to capitalize on this growing demand. But the value of contactless payment for fueling isn't very clear. Although customers are able to skip a trip into the store or limit touches on the service screen, they still have to use the same fuel pump others have used.
The exception would be states like New Jersey, which requires attendants to pump gas. Companies could also offer full-service fueling, though this would be expensive. Hy-Vee recently made full-service fueling available at more than 165 locations across eight states.
Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali expressed confusion over 7-Eleven's new payment program last week. "Am I the only one confused by what problem they are trying to solve? You still have to handle a communal gas pump to fill your car which is kind of the main part of the experience," she tweeted.
Even if the experience isn't completely contactless, it offers another way for 7-Eleven customers to collect loyalty points.
Contactless payment options aren’t new for 7-Eleven and other c-stores operators. In 2018, 7-Eleven rolled out its mobile self-checkout feature, called Scan & Pay, at 14 of its Dallas stores. Walmart also offers mobile payment at some of its gas stations, as do some Exxon, Shell and BP locations, all of which are connected to their respective reward apps.
Grocers that offer fueling are upgrading their loyalty programs, and making updates at the pump first could attract customers. Frequent purchases like gas stations allow grocery retailers to develop a long-term loyalty with customers and drives in-store purchases.