ExxonMobil today said it would start accepting Apple Pay as a form of payment at around 6,000 ExxonMobil gas stations around the U.S, something that Apple CEO Tim Cook had said was coming during the company's first quarter earnings call.
However, these Apple Pay payments won't be tap-to-pay, unlike the experience at almost every other point-of-sale system that works with Apple Pay. In this case, Apple Pay will be integrated into Exxon's existing Speedpass+ app, which is free to download and uses your geolocation to pull up local pumps. A customer can drive up to the pump, enter the pump number within the Speedpass+ app, and use his or her thumbprint to authorize payment through Apple Pay.
Apple Pay will work through ExxonMobil's Speedpass+ app
One one hand, paying via an app instead of swiping a card doesn't seem like it would save all that much time, since you have to get out of the car anyway to pump gas. On the upside, though, app users don't have to take out a wallet or purse. There could be additional security benefits to in-app gas station payments, as well: while U.S. businesses were required to switch over to chip-based EMV capable payment terminals by the fall of 2015, gas stations are getting an extra two years to transition, which means they're potentially more vulnerable to fraudulent activity.
Apple has conducted a test pilot of its payment system at a Chevron station in the Bay Area, but the partnership with ExxonMobil is the first real availability of Apple Pay at a major gas station chain. ExxonMobil says it plans to extend support of Apple Pay to 8,000 locations by mid year.