Esso officially launched its new mobile payment app this week at MRH’s Robin Hood North Service Station on the A3 in Raynes Park, south London.

The new Esso app has been live since April during its test period, and is already available on 75 sites. But it will now be rolled out at the rate of 25 sites a week with the aim of it being offered on 300 sites by the end of the year. Installation is under way at Top 50 Indie groups MRH (140 by the end of the year) and Euro Garages (which has 210 Esso sites), and through Greenergy. Tesco Esso sites are not currently part of the schedule, although the app enables the easy collection of Clubcard points – with the incentive of bonus points to encourage new users.

The Esso app “leapfrogs” pay-at-pump facilities, according to Christopher Smith, mobile payment and loyalty manager for Esso. “The system uses cloud-based technology which helps ensure each transaction is quick, secure and easy, to enable customers to authorise payment,” he explained.

“It works off a cellular signal which will be strong enough for customers to use the app on approximately 99% of Esso-branded sites. The software sits on the POS system – it can be easily downloaded to existing hardware – so the sales assistant still has control. It costs around £1,000 a site, compared to around £10k per pump for pay-at-pump technology.”

Customers complete a simple registration process, using PayPal or Apple Pay as payment methods. Using the app involves simply driving up to an Esso fuel pump, opening the app while sitting in the car, selecting the pump number and authorising payment up to a maximum limit - which is currently £100, but could later be set at lower amounts to suit all pockets. The customer then fuels the car and when the nozzle is replaced, the app confirms the amount paid and automatically emails the user a digital receipt.

“It will appeal to parents who are in a quandary about leaving their children in the car to pay for fuel in-store, as well as those time-poor motorists who don’t want to queue at the till,” commented Smith. “Transaction comparisons so far show that it could save up to two minutes on smaller sites, and four to five minutes on a larger site. Our view is that it will help drive loyalty to the site.”

The app also includes Esso’s Fuel Finder function – transferred from the company’s previous site- finder app, which will be discontinued later this month. It enables customers to identify those Esso sites which are enabled for mobile payment and can also provide directions.

“Esso is committed to providing our customers with the best possible experience at our stations, and the app has been designed to save time, yet you can still accumulate Clubcard points,” said Smith. “This combination of functions distinguishes the Esso App as the next generation of customer payment at Esso-branded service stations.”