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November 01, 2007

Shell Intros 'Pay by Touch' at Ten U.S. Gas Stations

By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Imagine pulling up to a gas station and, instead of using a credit card or cash to pay for gas, simply having a machine scan your fingertips. This isn’t a scene from the future. The technology is here today at ten Shell gas stations in Chicago.

The biometric system, developed by San Francisco-based Pay By Touch, works by linking a user’s fingerprints to his or her credit card or checking account, AP explained in a Thursday report. For now, customers must scan their fingertips at a kiosk inside the gas station. Eventually the idea would be to have scanners installed on gas pumps for even faster payment.
“When we talk to customers, they're always looking for ways to make buying gasoline quicker and easier, and always looking for ways to make their transactions faster and more secure,” the AP report quoted Shell’s manager of global refueling innovations, Chris Susse, as saying. “They don't want to carry more cards, kits and keychains, and they want it to be free.”
Shell is the first gas station company in the U.S. to install biometric payment devices, AP said. The company is also testing hand-held wireless devices that allow full-service customers to pay electronically without getting out of their cars or hand payment to attendants.
Shell also announced its partnership with Fuelcast Media International LLC to offer local news, weather and sports on digital screens at the pump, AP said. This deal lets Shell display advertisements along with the content from local NBC stations. Screens are now installed at 300 Shell stations across the U.S.

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Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet.

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