A new cashless payment solution from Couche-Tard and an in-vehicle payment system from Visa and Sheeva.Ai aim to make EV charging more convenient
It’s one of the most common EV driver complaints: different charging networks almost always require customers to pay with different cards or apps. Not only is it irritating and inconvenient, it’s a barrier to EV adoption.
However, some companies in the industry are pursuing solutions and making strides to address the issue.
EV drivers will now be able to make convenient cashless payments at Alimentation Couche-Tard-owned EV charging stations thanks to a new partnership between Nuvei Corp., a Montreal-based payment technology company, and Nayax, a global payment solutions provider.
In a similar vein to streamlining the charging experience, the Visa Acceptance Solutions division has teamed up with Sheeva.AI, an in-vehicle payments solutions provider, to introduce a new tokenization platform for secure in-vehicle transactions for various services including EV charging.
Both solutions aim to create a more simple and seamless payment process to improve user experiences and efficiency of public charging infrastructure.
Cashless payments at retail locations
Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard is a global convenience store and fuel retailer, operating in 25 countries and territories with over 14,400 stores globally. The company’s flagship brand, Couche-Tard, has more than 600 locations in Quebec, alone.
Last year, the company initiated a two-year plan to integrate electric vehicle charging into 200 stores across Canada and the United States by 2024. However, it noticed issues with public charging payments it wanted to address.
“Consumers want to pay at the charging points as conveniently as possible,” says Stephane Drapeau-Bouchard, Alimentation Couche-Tard’s operations lead in a press release. “[B]eing able to offer best-in-class payment options will enable us to stay ahead of the competition as we grow our EV charging point offering.”
To do this, Alimentation Couche-Tard is drawing on technology from Nuvei and Nayax to replicate the same cashless payment methods used at gas stations.
Nayax’s EV-embedded payment system allows customers using chargers under the Couche Tard and Circle K store banners to pay using cashless and contactless payment methods including credit, debit and prepaid cards.
Transactions made using Nayax’s payment terminal are processed by Nuvei’s payment solution technology.
“Electric vehicle charging is one of the fastest growing use cases in unattended payment terminal solutions,” says Yair Nechmad, Nayax’s chief executive officer. “We are pleased to stand alongside Nuvei, and provide our solution to the Alimentation Couche-Tard Group.”
Secure in-car payments
Meanwhile, Visa Acceptance Solutions and Virginia-based Sheeva.AI have collaborated to build out a new payment tokenization platform for EV charging by leveraging Visa’s Cybersource Token Management Service.
Payment tokenization replaces sensitive credit card details with a random set of characters known as a “token.” Since the user’s actual credit information is not being used or stored, tokens keep payment data safer during transactions.
“The token system makes in-vehicle transactions trustworthy and seamless for every driver giving them peace of mind that their account is secure and protected,” says Evgeny Klochikhin, founder and CEO of Sheeva.AI in an email to Electric Autonomy. “That speeds up the transaction since you don’t need to open the right app or find the right card and brings peace of mind to both merchant and consumer since it minimizes risk.”
The Visa and Sheeva.Ai payment platform will function similarly to Plug and Charge technology. EV drivers will be able to simply pull up and plug in at a charging location and the backend technology will handle both the charging and billing.
This is possible through Sheeva.AI’s technology, which detects where a vehicle is and allows digital payments via the infotainment screen.
Klochikhin says the Sheeva.AI platform is ready for Canada, but that it’s up to automakers to bring it to market.
“[I]t will be up to them to say when it will be available…We’re not an app ourselves, but we empower the automaker’s in-vehicle customer experience,” he says.
Sheeva.AI says its product suite is currently in trials globally with automotive companies and Tier 1 suppliers, spanning over 1.5 million service points such as fuel pumps, parking spaces and EV chargers.