Why EV Charging Stations Need to Accept Open Cashless Payments
By Carly Furman, CEO, North America Nayax
By 2025, 30% of vehicles on the road are projected to be electric vehicles. The infrastructure bill recently passed by the United States Congress will only boost this growth. EV charging stations are a big part of the next decade’s infrastructure plan, both in the United States and around the world. In order for these charging stations to provide the utmost convenience to EV drivers and charge point operators (CPOs), they should include open cashless payment systems.
With the many variables faced by drivers when charging their car, being able to offer multiple ways to pay is important. For instance, if a CPO is only offering a subscription app payment or single contactless payment option and there is a payment completion issue, then the driver could find themselves in a position where they can’t charge their vehicle at all. Giving drivers several ways to pay when visiting a charging station will allow them to feel more comfortable with choosing an electric vehicle for longer drives.
CPOs should look to offer acceptance of A) all card present transactions, including tapping and inserting an EMV chip card and accepting legacy mag swipe cards, B) all open loop mobile payments, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, C) closed loop apps and cards (including direct funding and prepaid/top up) and D) supporting alternative payment methods. This will ensure that any EV driver who stops at their stations can pay how they desire, as well as have the option to pay with a fallback method in the case it is needed.
Paying for charging should be easy and seamless. It should be a concise process that has clear instructions, especially since chargers are in an unattended environment. Payment service providers offering an integrated attractive, eye-catching reader with multiple language selections options, as well as voice prompts is a great way to ensure the payment process when charging is intuitive and successful.
Open cashless payment systems offer an end-to-end solution for businesses, which allow them to collect, manage, and track all payments received. An open payment solution also allows businesses to receive cashless payments anytime, anywhere via credit or debit cards, prepaid cards, mobile wallets, or QR codes. EMV-certified cashless payments offer extra security for both the customer and the business.
Many EV Charging manufacturers have their own proprietary apps which demand subscriptions or memberships and don’t offer one-time charging. This means that EV drivers subscribe to multiple charging apps, which is expensive, especially when a charger may only be used once depending on the driver’s route.
An open payment system would fix this problem, ensuring drivers don’t have to sign up to charge their car at a specific charging station. By accepting open cashless payment methods, CPOs can reach a larger pool of EV drivers, as drivers will know that they can pay at any charging station without the hassle of signing up for a subscription.
In addition, it’s an important factor in helping drivers – beyond early adopters – feel comfortable in choosing an EV car, since they will have the same payment experience they use when fueling an ICE (internal combustion engine) car.
Post-COVID, more and more customers are accustomed to paying with a cashless form of payment and in an unattended environment. Seeing a payment device that they are familiar with using already on other unattended machines, like when they purchase a soda from a vending machine or pay at a self-checkout kiosk, leads to comfortability. Additionally, having multiple cashless payment options when charging creates a similar payment experience as when they are pumping gas and is something that can help ease the uncertainty around transitioning to an electric vehicle. Familiarity of the payment experience is important.
Additionally, successful integration between the charger and payment device allows the secure and successful transmission of the transaction details to partnering processors. The integration between the payment service provider and the charger can also allow for operational efficiencies, robust data exchanges and implementation of loyalty programs, so it’s more than just choosing a payment terminal provider but choosing a payments technology partner who has proven EV charger integration experience and a flexible payments platform.
As the world continues to change and new technologies arrive on the market almost daily, business owners need to keep their goals in mind, always thinking about how to provide the best service and experience to their customers. Consumers are looking more and more for seamless experiences especially when it comes to self-service and automation. All of this is becoming less of a consumer’s desire than an expectation with the rise of cashless payments and self-serviced transactions. Providing EV drivers with the same payment method options they have in their other purchases will prove to be an advantage for charge point operators.