As Apple Pay enjoys the buzz of its recent debut in the UK, emerging mPayment rival PayPal is starting to win a bit of ground in the region too. In a new partnership with Shell, PayPal is enabling mobile payments at a number of gas stations in the UK.
Importantly, the “Fill Up & Go” service is not routed through PayPal software. Rather, consumers use it through the Shell Motorist app, which lets them link their PayPal accounts for payment. At a given gas station, a user needs only to scan a QR code by the pump, set a predetermined amount to pay through the app, and start pumping gas. The app then confirms the purchase once the pump is stopped.
At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. In a recent article for Engadget, journalist Matt Brian tried to test the service out, but found that despite having prominent signage, his chosen Shell station didn’t yet have the Fill Up & Go service operational yet. There’s also a minor issue in that motorists aren’t supposed to use their phones while standing near the gas pumps, so Shell asks that users scan the large QR codes from within their cars, but it’s not clear that’s going to sit well with most drivers. In these ways the rollout is similar to Apple Pay’s debut on Transit for London, which has seen a number of technical glitches crop up. Both cases are likely signs of the respective companies’ eagerness to get in on the ground floor as consumer interest in mPayments starts to heat up.