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Why easing the payments process could be the key to driving an EV future?

The adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK sored in 2020, with one in ten cars sold being plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). With the cut-off date for the sale of new EVs less than a decade away, consumers are starting to wake up to the necessity of going electric. Therefore, now is the time for payment providers to reflect on what is currently lacking when it comes to providing seamless payments for EV users.

The current European EV fleet stands at 2.3 million in 2020 but is estimated to rise to 34 million in 2030. This means that an equal growth in public EV chargers will also have to occur, and these will need to be equipped to take unattended payments – to rise from 200 thousand today to more than 3 million by 2030 according to the European Commission.

Clunky payment systems lead to abandoned transactions. In the EV industry however, you must also factor in the time it takes to fully charge a vehicle, so self-service terminals will have to operate very differently to other self-service operations in other industries.

For example, if users have to pay up front for their time and a user has to abandon the five hours they paid for after two hours then how are they refunded? Or, if users have to pay after charging is completed and a customer only has their phone with them, which has a £100 payment limit, but leaves their car charging for too long, how can they pay? And what about people who charge their car and leave without paying?

Barriers to payments in EV charging

What complicates things further is the number of ways there is to pay for EV charging – excluding cash, there are still a wide range of debit and credit cards, mobile wallets, app-based payments, and mobile payments and services (Apple Pay). For a fully electric future, all currencies and regulatory regimes in different countries will also need to be considered.

Not all payments will even take place at the charging point itself: just like ‘click and collect’ allows consumers to pay for their café order ahead of their arrival, ‘click and charge’ systems could allow EV drivers to pay for their charging before they reach a charging point. There would then need to be a seamless interface between the app and the charging point, making the process as simple as it is in cafes.

Moreover, EV infrastructure owners, EV charging manufacturers and charging point operators are not going to standardise their offerings. All operators will have different methods when it comes to taking payments. Charging stations operated by current petrol stations will likely continue their current loyalty programmes, so these will need to be incorporated into their charging systems, which would also need to be networked to receive updates, which introduces security issues. This highlights how a loyalty scheme can cause problems unless there is a unified, end-to-end solution that can be used by everyone.

A streamlined EV payment solution

However, new payment solutions are designed to be universal to the growing EV charging market and are able to adapt to any EV hardware and any client business model across Western Europe.

Such solutions work with both end-to-end and standalone payment processing, with pre-authorisation and electronic receipts available as standard for users opting for end-to-end processing. Also, acquiring on an end-to-end solution is included for both a standalone version as well as the full end to end solution. Therefore, this shows versatility and ensures that wherever a customer is, they can pay for their charging.

In terms of security, and the latest security standards are built in at the point of sale without adding extra steps for the customer. As with most modern payments, this security layer is designed to be as invisible as possible.

A fully electric future

As both EVs and digital payments continue growing rapidly over the next decade, EV payment solutions simply tie these both together to create a streamlined solution, to drive an electric future in the transport and mobility market.

The latest systems bring the very best of what customers are used to in other parts of their life, to EVs which they are either using now or will be soon, while providing the hardware and software that charging station manufacturers and providers need to offer the systems end-users need.

About the Author

Venceslas Cartier, Head of Transportation & Smart Mobility Payment Solutions at Worldline

As the result of the merge between Worldline and Ingenico, Venceslas is leading the Offer Management for Transportation and Urban Mobility. His role consists in addressing partners, operators and integrators with a full line of payment services from terminals, gateway, acquiring and online acceptance, empowering cashless acceptance in Mass Transit and MaaS, Micro and Urban Mobility, EV Charging, Tolls & Highway Management and Parking.

Venceslas has over 20 years of expertise in strategic & field marketing, communication, business development, partnership & indirect sales in IT and Retail markets.

Before joining Ingenico in 2016, Venceslas headed the EMEA & India Marketing and Business Development Department of A2iA, a software editor specialized in document & mobile capture, recognition & authentication.

About Worldline

Worldline [Euronext: WLN] is the European leader in the payments and transactional services industry and #4 player worldwide. With its global reach and its commitment to innovation, Worldline is the technology partner of choice for merchants, banks and third-party acquirers as well as public transport operators, government agencies and industrial companies in all sectors. Powered by over 20,000 employees in more than 50 countries, Worldline provides its clients with sustainable, trusted and secure solutions across the payment value chain, fostering their business growth wherever they are. Services offered by Worldline in the areas of Merchant Services; Terminals, Solutions & Services; Financial Services and Mobility & e-Transactional Services include domestic and cross-border commercial acquiring, both in-store and online, highly-secure payment transaction processing, a broad portfolio of payment terminals as well as e-ticketing and digital services in the industrial environment. In 2019 Worldline generated a proforma revenue of 5.3 billion euros.

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