Is Cash Still King? Not Anymore! Find Out How Your Fuel Station Can Prepare for the New Cashless Society

Cashless payments have been on the rise for the past decade, and the COVID pandemic has accelerated their popularity all over the world. According to Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, following the outbreak of COVID, digital payments have shifted from “being a nice-to-have capability to a must-have essential service.”

Is your fuel station or C-store equipped to handle the growing number of customers who prefer to pay with cashless methods?

Read on to learn more about cashless payments and to find out why they’re crucial for your fuel station or C-store to stay relevant in the future.

What Are Cashless Payments?

Modern cashless payment methods have existed for decades, first in the form of checks and credit cards that could be used at physical retail locations, and later in the form of electronic payment methods that could be used online. When Amazon, eBay, and PayPal came onto the scene in the mid-late 1990s, cashless payments really took off.

Today, cashless payments include all of the above, plus mobile wallet apps, QR codes, contactless payments, ECS, self-service kiosks, cashierless stores, and more. Many fuel retailers and C-stores already offer many types of cashless, frictionless payment options.

Amazon Go, for example, is a cashierless chain of stores in the US and UK that allows customers to pay via an Amazon Go app for iOS and Android. The first store opened to employees in 2016, and in 2018 more stores opened to the general public. Today, there are 29 Amazon Go locations, and the tech giant is offering its technology to other retailers. 

Cashless Payments Are on the Rise

Pre-pandemic, the number of cashless transactions in North America was steadily increasing. 

Once the pandemic hit in early 2020, many experts noted a significant increase in the number of small to mid-sized businesses that started accepting cashless payments. These businesses needed to accommodate the exploding consumer demand for contactless payments

In November 2020, MasterCard conducted a poll that showed that 51% of Americans were using contactless payments. According to a report by analyst firm eMarketer, by 2025 more than half of all smartphone users will use contactless mobile payments. In Europe, the total number of non-cash payments increased 3.7% between 2019 and 2020. Research from PXP Financial shows that 41% of consumers surveyed in six European countries are in favor of a cashless economy. 

The Best Way for Fuel Retailers to Prepare for a Cashless Society

As it stands now, only 15% of fuel station customers in the US prefer to use cash. In the UK, 28% prefer to use cash at fuel stations, while the rest prefer to use cards or mobile apps. In other words, a cashless economy isn’t very far off. And the best way to prepare for a completely cashless future is to implement a cashless system now. 

While many fuel retailers have cashless payment options in place, there are many that don’t. And those that do, can you be sure that your solution is effective? Here are some things to consider when choosing a cashless payment solution:

  • Data – What are your customers’ preferred payment methods? The most successful retailers are those that have the tools to collect data and then apply it to their day-to-day operations. When you learn which payment options your customers prefer, you can cater your selection to their preferences.
  • Options – What/how many cashless options can you offer? Variety is the name of the game — the more cashless options you offer, the more you widen your appeal to a broader audience.
  • Loyalty – Do you have a loyalty program that will reward customers for using cashless options? Loyalty programs are crucial for fuel retailers in today’s digital age. You can read more about why here. (link to blog post:
  • Cybersecurity – Do you have the proper technology to ensure that your cashless payment systems are secure? Cybersecurity solutions are the only way to ensure that all of your cashless payment methods — which are digital — are protected. Whatever the cost of a high-quality cybersecurity solution, it’s worth it for the protection of both company and consumer information.

The answers to these questions can help you find the best solution for accepting cashless payments.

A solution like Gilbarco Veeder-Root’s Passport X, designed specifically for fuel retailers and C-stores, offers frictionless payment options, self-service kiosks, mobile payments, delivery and/or curbside pickup, loyalty and rewards programs, and an overall enhanced consumer experience. These are all crucial aspects of a cashless payment solution. 

Benefits of Cashless Payments

A cashless payment system can benefit both consumers and retailers. It can make retailers less at risk for violent crimes, as robbers will know that in-store cash registers don’t have much cash. Retailers will also be less at risk for fraud, since all transactions will be digitally documented. In general, cashless methods allow for faster payment processing. 

The main benefit of cashless payments for consumers is convenience. Cashless payments mean consumers don’t have to worry about stopping by the ATM or changing money when traveling. It means they can purchase things online or on their phones without waiting in line. 

A cashless economy means that both retailers and consumers will need to invest less time and effort in the actual handling and managing of paper money. All records will be digital, and there will be no need to count cash at the end of the day or sync accounts. 

Bottom Line 

As the world moves toward cashless societies, fuel retailers can best prepare themselves by having a comprehensive cashless payment system in place. This is a short-term solution for the consumers who prefer cashless payments now and a long-term solution for when governments eventually decide that cashless is the way to go. 

To learn more about Passport X solutions for fuel retailers and C-stores, contact us.