Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  05 May 2011

RETAILING: Cash For Petrol A Thing Of The Past


Recent Western Cape Business News

Since the introduction of debit card fuel payments in 2007, forecourt retailers, particularly BP who has taken the lead in this regard, have found a steady increase in usage.

Sipho Mbelle, BP’s Head of Sales and Marketing says more than 30% of all its forecourt fuel payments are now done by debit cards while about 10% of users still use their garage cards. He estimates that plastic will be the dominant mode of payment for fuel as opposed to cash in the near future.

In the past cash was king, but since the advent of portable payment terminals, more consumers are drawn to the convenience of paying with a card, particularly a debit card, as this is the easiest payment method for the bulk of banking customers in SA.

It’s also safer to pay for fuel with a bank card as it eliminates the need for cash. To make the transaction even more secure, the entire process is done in full sight of the customer. The card is not taken away to be swiped at a central point, but is conveniently done right at the pump in one’s car which also reduces the possibility of fraud”, says Mbelle.

In the past, due to the regulated petroleum market, petrol could not be paid for by bank cards (other than garage cards specially created for this purpose). But, now a growing number of consumers are choosing the safer, easier, plastic option for fuel over cash.

Statistics from the Payment Association of South Africa show more than 7 out of 10 transactions in South Africa are being done with debit cards.

BP continues to support the majority of its fuel retail network as part of its stated safety policy and as part of its efforts to help government more fully realize its crime prevention objectives by reducing cash at service stations.

Since the company launched its initiative to reduce cash on forecourts four years ago by introducing Swipa, its portable payment system, it has successfully removed more than R5-billion in cash from its forecourts. This has resulted in further curbing cash-related robberies and made its forecourts far safer for BP staff and customers.

BP remains the leading fuel company with methods of payments, accepting almost all money tender, including gift cards, for the payment of fuel at most of its service stations countrywide.

Mbelle says, “Motorists are able to pay for fuel with any garage, fleet, debit, credit, cheque, charge card (such as American Express), and even Visa or MasterCard gift cards – at the majority of our service stations nationally”.

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