Technology is making self payment more convenient and secure than ever

Pay-at-the-pump was the first form of self-service to completely turn an industry on its head. Beginning in Europe in the early 1980s and moving to America by the middle of the decade, the ability to allow a customer to pump their own gas and pay for it with a credit card there at the pump redefined the gas station business model. Today, pay-at-the-pump is a self-service standard, fueled by customer acceptance of pumping gas themselves.

New technology is also constantly being developed to make the self-payment process more secure, a guarantee that gas stations must make their customers. Pay-at-the-pump users have been known to be the victims of credit or debit card skimming where fraudsters steal data through devices attached to the magnetic stripe reader.

But with unattended payment systems continuing to advance in security, along with data input devices at the pump such as encrypting PIN pads, things are changing. There have also been a lot of security advancements on the back end payment networks through PCI compliance and other standards acceptance. In fact, with the proliferation of pay-at-the-pump services, gas stations are the most common place for credit card holders in the United States to use their plastic for purchases, according to a recent Visa survey.

Aside from customer convenience, self payment at the pump has also had a number of benefits for the gas station owner. Pay-at-pump not only deters drivers from leaving a gas station without paying, but reduces the risk of store employees stealing credit card details or gasoline for their own profit. The model has also allowed gas station owners to reallocate their employees to tasks other than pumping gas.

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