A first-of-it-kind multi-city contactless payments trial in
the US involving the use of near field communications (NFC) enabled
mobile phones by fleet-vehicle drivers has been hailed as a
resounding success. Partnering in the trial were payments processor
Wright Express, contactless payments specialist ViVOtech and fuel
and convenience store retailer Sheetz.

Launched in December 2008, the objective of the trial was to assess
the reaction of participating fleet-vehicle drivers who were able
to undertake contactless payments for fuel and make other purchases
at Sheetz’s 350 locations across six north-western states.

“The mobile payment pilot was a huge success, meeting and exceeding
our initial objectives,” said Russ Lamer, Wright Express’ manager
of emerging technologies. “It helped us gain insight into the
benefits of using a mobile phone as a payment device, document
fleet driver usability at the pump and inside the store and also
better understand the mobile payments operating systems.”

“Our next steps are to work on a business model and evaluate how we
can eventually be ready to offer commercial mobile payment services
to our customers once NFC phones become widely available and
accepted by our merchants,” said Lamer.

Underpinning Wright Express’ confidence in continuing to pursue
mobile NFC payments post-trial interviews elicited a positive
response from 80 percent of participating drivers.

Their responses included that the phone was an “easy, fast and
convenient” payment method while some mentioned that they preferred
purchasing with the phone “because they always carry a phone, but
sometimes forget their wallet.”

A vehicle fleet payments specialist, Wright Express’ charge cards
are used by to purchase fuel and maintenance services for some 4.5
million vehicles.

For the trial ViVOTech provided the complete end-to-end NFC mobile
solution including a mobile wallet and over the air fleet card
provisioning infrastructure software. Contactless/NFC terminals at
Sheetz locations were all supplied by ViVOTech prior to the