PayPal’s not going to let Apple have mobile payments all its own way in Europe, and has announced a deal with Shell UK, where drivers will be able to pay using their phone at the pump after filling up their car with gas. Following a test run several years ago, Shell and PayPal are ready to take the scheme nationwide in the UK this year, enabling mobile app payments at 1,000 Shell stations across the country.
Drivers will need to use either the PayPal app, or Shell’s own Motorist app, and be a member of the Shell Drivers Club – a free-to-join loyalty scheme. Both apps are available for iOS and Android. Shell will be the first fuel station to offer such a service in the UK, and it’ll initially only be open to Drivers Club members from April, with a wide public launch coming later in 2015.
Exactly how the payment will be handled isn’t clear yet, but drivers won’t need to go into the store to pay, and a receipt will be sent to the phone. In the UK, the majority of gas stations have evolved to house mini-markets, resulting in long queues at the checkouts. While some stations have the option to pay with a card at the pump, it’s not a common feature. Paying with an app will alleviate the pain of watching people do their weekly shopping while you wait to pay for fuel.
Apple hasn’t launched Apple Pay in the UK, although it’s expected to do so in the near future. In the U.S., Apple’s mobile payment system is accepted in several gas stations, but only at the checkout itself. Chevron has confirmed it’s working on a pay-at-the-pump Apple Pay system, but hasn’t confirmed when it will launch.