You Can Ask Alexa to Pay for Gas at 11,5000 Exxon and Mobil Stations as Amazon Enables Previously Teased Voice Commands
Drivers can now ask Alexa to handle fuel payments at more than 11,500 Exxon and Mobil gas stations in the U.S. The program, first previewed by Amazon at CES in January, skips the need to use a card or touchpad, relying only on voice commands and some access to the voice assistant.
Getting Alexa to pay for the gas just requires a driver to have some way of communicating with Alexa. That can include cars with Alexa built-in, an Echo Auto device in the car, or just the Alexa app on a smartphone. When they park the car at the pump and ask the voice assistant to pay for gas, Alexa will determine what gas station they are at and the pump number, activating the pump remotely, so the driver simply has to insert the nozzle and start refueling their car. The transaction uses a customer’s existing Amazon Pay account, so there’s no extra sign-in needed, although the user can add a voice PIN if they want. Financial tech giant Fiserv supports the underlying communication between Alexa and the pump and facilitates the actual digital payment.
“At Amazon, we’re always looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier whether at home or on-the-go,” Amazon Pay vice president Patrick Gauthier said in a statement.”While travel looks different today than it ever has before, we’re excited to be working with ExxonMobil and Fiserv on this unique and delightful experience that enables customers to securely pay for gas using just their voice with Amazon Alexa and Amazon Pay.”
Amazon has been pushing voice commerce on several fronts, including partnerships with cities like Mesa, Arizona, to handle utility payments. The gas station payments by voice offer some obvious benefits in terms of convenience and speed, as well as limiting contact with surfaces during the current COVID-19 health crisis. And while Amazon first revealed its plans for the program in January, 7-Eleven actually beat it to the punch. In June, the 7-Eleven launched a way for people to ask Apple’s Siri voice assistant to handle gas payments as part of its Fuel Loyalty program. Combining its own software with Siri’s Shortcuts feature, users can connect either Google or Apple Pay or a credit or debit card to the account in the company’s mobile app. The app then helps the user set up a custom voice command for fueling, and Siri will ask what pump number the driver is using and how much gas they want, either a full tank or a specific amount. Once confirmed, the driver can just start pumping. The most significant difference between the two programs is that 7-Eleven isn’t working with Apple, just taking advantage of how Siri Shortcuts works. Assuming the Alexa program goes well and is popular, it will likely be the tip of a move toward universal voice payment for gas.