Oil&nonOil: digitization of payments – a priority for service stations

 In EXHIBITION, Oil&nonOil 2021 Verona

The promotion of cashless systems and related security implications were discussed at a conference coordinated by Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Unem

The change in payment methods at service stations and related security consequences were the main themes of the “Evolution of digital payments and consequent impact on the security of fuel outlets” conference held on the first day of the 16th Oil&nonOil event at Veronafiere.

The topic was introduced by the Head of Health, Safety and the Environment of Unione energie per la mobilità (Unem), Donatella Giacopetti, who defined cash reduction as “a priority” for the petroleum fuel sector, in the awareness that “expanding the share of electronic payments in the fuel network is beneficial for everyone”. The “Zero cash” project has introduced incentives to use electronic money for consumers and the service station managers alike: a state contribution to reduce the percentage incidence of commission costs, the deductibility of fuel costs by professional operators for purchases made using traceable payment systems, an information campaign highlighting the advantages of electronic payment and initiatives to promote the use of consumer cards.

As criminal activities that impact the security of oil facilities, Unem has brought the critical issues and related risks to the attention of the government and police groups. Unem’s “Safe points of sale” project collected the information in its possession to activate systemic synergies. Collaboration between Unem and the Ministry of the Interior – through the Central Criminal Police Department – has encouraged “greater coordination between companies and police departments in the most affected geographical areas and the launch of joint training initiatives between public and private sectors aimed at promoting participatory security”, as Giacopetti point out. Unem has developed an “Anti-theft handbook” for fuel outlet operators.

Unem’s initiatives were welcomed by Gilbarco with portfolio evolutions to support the transition to digital and electronic transactions and payment terminal protection solutions to make points of sale safer. “The first obligatory step for the fuel sector in Italy is to enable contactless forms of payment on a much broader scale,” as Gilbarco’s sales director, Federico Barbati, explained. He then listed the benefits of abandoning cash: fewer robberies, refuelling experience that reflects customer habits, reduced maintenance and equipment costs, and faster payment sequence. With reference to ongoing trials, Gilbarco has focused on terminal innovation, mobile payment and banknote marking  (an active banknote protection system with multi-technological sensors).

The latter initiative has also been adopted by Q8. The Project Management Engineering Maintenance Coordinator for the Business development Department at Q8, Stefano Salvatori, illustrated a number of solutions promoted by the company in the field of service station security: banknote stackers, reinforced safes, Opt cages and remote-controlled cameras. All this has contributed to a sharp fall in the number of offences. Collaboration with Gilbarco includes retrofit campaigns for the installation of contactless readers, while the Card reader in dispenser is also being studied”, highlighted Salvatori. “The Club Q8 app,” he said, “makes it possible to pay for refuelling directly from the app.” Q8 Fuel Cards for digital refuelling by companies and professionals came into being “with the aim of zero cash”, as Renato Del Vecchio explained, card business manager with Q8 Italy.

The conference ended with a report by the marketing & promotions manager of Tamoil, Bruno Tintori. The “MyCard Tamoil” for cashless payments is characterized by “security, convenience and practicality”. The electronic voucher has been promoted as an immediately ready tool which can be used in served and self-service stations alike and can be purchased on site. To encourage modern payment methods, a network adaptation plan to allow the use of NFC functions (near field communication) has been launched. The Tamoil executive explained that overcoming the need to type in a Pin is fundamental for improving the “user experience”, which has made progress precisely thanks to mobile payment. “The best experiences in terms of service station protection have been the new-generation safes and banknote markets,” Tintori concluded.