Just as it is possible to pay for products and services using apps on your smartphone, Visa is making it possible make payments using in-car apps. The firm has opened up its Visa Token Service to carmakers, meaning drivers will soon be able to pay for things like fuel from the comfort of their car.
Launched in 2014, the Visa Token Service provides a means of authorizing payments without exposing the details on bank and credit cards, such as the 16-digit card number, expiration date and security code. It allows consumers to make payments through devices such as smartphones and tablets and, now, two proof-of-concept in-car apps show what sort of functionality Visa Token Service might offer for carmakers and drivers.
Working with Honda, Visa developed a fuel app that integrates with the vehicle's head unit and is able to detect when the car is low on fuel and provide directions to a gas station. Once the car is parked next to a pump, the app is able to work out exactly how much fuel is required and calculate the cost of fuel accordingly.
The driver can then send payment for the fuel via the app on the in-car display, which features Visa's online payment service (meaning the car will need to piggy back a smartphone's internet connectivity or have its own).
The second app, developed with parking space finder and booking app ParkWhizz, tracks the amount of time a user's car has been parked at one of ParkWhizz's partner locations and allows the driver to pay only for that time. Once the driver is ready to leave, the elapsed time and cost are shown on the in-car display and the driver can press a button to make the payment.
The two apps are being shown off this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and point to a future where drivers need not struggle to find cash or reach for their wallets. The apps follow on from demonstrations over the last year in which Visa has shown how in-car payments might simplify the likes of fast-food ordering, hiring a car or paying road tolls.
The apps are to be tested in the US over three-month periods starting shortly. Visa says it has also been working on technologies aimed at expanding the use of mobile payments, such as new standards for Bluetooth and QR codes.