Thanks to smartphones, it’s no longer necessary to stick your credit card into a grimy machine to pay for gas. There are a couple of different methods you can use to pay with your phone. We’ll show you how.
The two different methods are physically tapping your phone to the pump or paying from an app. With tap-to-pay, your phone essentially becomes your credit card, and you simply tap it to the contactless reader. The latter involves paying from an app from the comfort of your car.
NFC is a feature on many smartphones that allows devices to communicate over a short distance. In the case of mobile payments, NFC is used to securely transmit payment credentials. Your phone takes the place of your credit card.
To use tap-to-pay at gas pumps, you’ll need to keep an eye out for some logos. The top logo in the image below is for the universal “Contactless Payment” systems. This applies to smartphones and smartwatches with mobile payment capabilities, but also to some credit cards and other devices.
The bottom two logos in the image above are more specific to smartphone platforms: Google Pay (Android) and Apple Pay (iPhone and Apple Watch). However, these will both work if you see the universal Contactless Payment logo as well.
iPhones and Apple Watches can do mobile payments with Apple Pay. The setup process simply involves adding your desired credit card to the app. From there, you can tap your Apple device to the gas pump to make a payment.
Android devices have a few more options. The top choice is Google Pay, which is available for all Android devices with an NFC chip installed. There are also mobile payment apps from manufacturers such as Samsung Pay, but these are limited to devices from that specific company.
Google Pay is available for iPhones as well, but mobile payments only work with Android devices. As with Apple Pay, the process involves simply adding a credit card to your account, after which you can tap your phone to the gas pump.
Tapping your phone to a gas pump to pay sounds pretty futuristic, but there’s actually an even newer method available at many gas stations. Rather than physically tapping your phone to the reader, the entire payment process can be completed in your car.
Many gas stations now have apps that allow you to select your gas pump number and choose a payment method without having to get out of your car. The only physical interaction you need to have with the pump is choosing a fuel grade and putting the nozzle in your vehicle.
We mentioned Google Pay for tap-to-pay, but it can also be used for this method. The Google Pay app aggregates a few gas station chains that support the feature. The entire process can be done through the Google Pay app.
If you don’t want to use Google Pay, you have the option to download an app from the gas station chain. Many of the popular U.S. gas chains have their own apps for this feature.
With these methods in mind, you no longer need to pull out your wallet or purse at the gas pump. Of course, not every gas station supports these standards yet, but the number is growing every day.