Cerence Brings Gas Station Payment Voice Commands to Europe
Cerence has partnered with mobile payment firm Ryd Pay to offer drivers in Europe the option to pay for gas from their cars with voice commands. The arrangement brings Ryd into the Cerence Pay platform so that cars with Cerence-powered voice assistants can interact with the digital payment systems at gas stations to purchase fuel.
Ryd Pay, built by parent company ThinxNet, is already in use across several European countries as a way to pay for gas and other items at gas stations using a mobile device or through a touchscreen in a car. The Cerence Pay platform serves a similar purpose except for voice commerce but has not been an option outside of the U.S. before. The integration of Ryd into Cerence means that drivers can just ask their voice assistant to pay for gas at the relevant gas station. Cerence’s speech recognition can confirm the user is authorized to make a payment and transfer the money immediately.
“By adding ryd pay to our Cerence Pay ecosystem, we can make secure, voice-powered transactions available to more consumers and give our OEMs flexibility in how they integrate and offer payment options to best meet the needs of their drivers,” Cerence vice president and general manager of apps Nils Lenke said in a statement. “With the car becoming more connected than ever before, it only makes sense to offer drivers contactless payment for services – whether that’s fueling up, getting a coffee or parking. We add a layer of convenience by letting drivers use their voice to initiate payments and ensure security by authenticating them at the same time through voice biometrics.”
Cerence’s ambitions around paying for fuel by voice have brought the feature to Europe before any rivals, but they are likely to follow soon enough. Amazon arranged a similar feature for Alexa last year at 11,500 Exxon and Mobil gas stations in the U.S. When a car pulls up to a pump, the driver can ask Alexa to pay for gas and the voice assistant will identify and activate the pump remotely. That transaction uses a customer’s existing Amazon Pay account, although a voice PIN can be added if desired. Amazon isn’t laying back and has been actively planning to expand the program internationally. Even Amazon was beaten to the punch in a roundabout way last year by 7-Eleven when it launched a way for people to ask Apple’s Siri voice assistant to handle gas payments as part of its Fuel Loyalty program. But that wasn’t part of any larger voice assistant campaign; 7-Eleven simply leveraged the way Apple set up Siri Shortcuts to make it possible.