Luxury German vehicle brand Mercedes-Benz has joined forces with global payment processor Mastercard to introduce embedded in-car payments at the point of sale.
As a result of the new partnership with Mastercard, Mercedes-Benz customers in Germany can now start the fuelling process directly from their vehicle and pay digitally with a fingerprint. Eliminating the need to enter a PIN or authenticate via mobile device, drivers can now leverage convenient payments to enhance the in-vehicle experience.
The native in-car payment service via Mercedes pay+ will turn the car into a form of payment device and can be used to make payments at service stations using the fingerprint sensor integrated into the MBUX infotainment system. This service is already live for Mastercard debit and credit cards in current Mercedes-Benz models.
Contactless payment via Mercedes me ‘Fuel & Pay’ and fingerprint sensors are now available at over 3,600 cooperating gas stations in Germany.
Fingerprint payment authorisation at a gas station represents the first use case for native in-car payments at the point of sale, in addition to Mercedes-Benz as the world’s first automaker to integrate Mastercard’s Secure Card on File for Commerce platform into the car. This technology enables transaction data to be encrypted using uniquely assigned cryptograms, in turn protecting sensitive payment information.
Franz Reiner, chairman of the board of Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG, said: “With Mercedes pay+, we are making everyday life easier for our customers. From now on, they can pay their fuel bill directly from their car using their fingerprint – simply, securely, and conveniently.
“An intuitive payment process and a best-in-class customer experience lay the foundation for the success of digital offerings. We are pioneers in native in-car payment and are already working on the integration of further services.”
How do in-car payments work?
When a driver reaches a connected service station and switches off the engine, the Mercedes me Fuel & Pay service will start automatically on the MBUX infotainment system. Once started, the driver can select the appropriate gas pump. Even before refuelling, the system will calculate the maximum total amount based on the current fuel price and the amount of fuel when the tank is full.
Rather than authorising payments via a mobile device, the driver can complete their transaction through fingerprint authentication. After refuelling, the driver will be shown the amount of fuel refuelled and the invoice amount to their Mastercard debit or credit cards on the MBUX display.
Payment will be made automatically, and the driver will be able to leave the gas station without having to walk to the checkout area.
Jorn Lambert, chief digital officer at Mastercard, explained the significance of the partnership: “Digital payments are coming of age, and consumers want to embrace new forms that are infused into their everyday experiences and activities.
“Through our dynamic payments technology, we are proud to work hand in hand with Mercedes-Benz to bring safer, smarter, and more intelligent commerce experiences to its vehicles.
“We look forward to our continued efforts to drive further innovation in this area in Germany and around the world.”
A study conducted by the German market research company GfK on behalf of Mastercard found that around half of 18 to 39-year-olds would order and pay for services and goods directly via the infotainment display.
Reducing payment friction
Christopher Miller, emerging payments analyst at research firm Javelin added: “This joint effort between Mastercard and Mercedes-Benz to enable native in-car payments for fueling is an example of a real-world step towards a more seamless and integrated payments ecosystem that brings together consumer need, the right data, and payment credentials to reduce payment friction while retaining payment security.
“The announcement highlights the importance of payment experiences that are truly integrated from end-to-end – from authentication hardware in the vehicle to the calculation of fuel costs and needs, to email delivery of receipts.
“Payment flows that are truly differentiated will persuade consumers to adopt emerging technologies such as pay-by-car. Delivering on these types of experiences requires partners with the capability to coordinate all of these different components into something that is easy for consumers to both use and understand.”
Mercedes-Benz explained that fingerprint payments from the car will be extended soon to other vehicle-related services and to other European markets.