SOUTH PORTLAND, ME Sheetz convenience stores and Wright Express Corporation are launching the first multi-city trial of a new technology that enables drivers to make fuel purchases at Sheetz locations using their mobile phones.

Drivers will be able to download over-the-air a fleet card into their specially-enabled NFC (Near Field Communication) mobile phones and then purchase fuel by merely tapping their phones at the contactless payment readers installed in more than 350 participating Sheetz locations throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, and North Carolina.

The pilot, which begins this month, is a first for both Sheetz and Wright Express, who are collaborating with ViVOtech in testing the innovative new mobile technology to gauge its benefits and the impact on the fleet fueling industry. Drivers participating in the pilot are part of Sheetz Business Advantage fleet program.

"The goal of this field test is to enable us to better understand NFC mobile payment technology and position Wright Express to rapidly achieve leadership in this exciting new market as it develops," said Russ Lamer, Wright Express' manager of emerging technologies.

"The main reason Sheetz was selected to pilot this payment technology is because they are considered a leader in convenience store technology," said Lamer. "Sheetz has had the contactless readers at their stores for several years now and have been accepting contactless chip cards, using RFID technology for payments at the pump and in-store. ViVOtech was an obvious choice as the primary technology partner, since they are the leader in NFC mobile payment software and contactless acceptance solutions," added Lamer.

ViVOtech provided the complete end-to-end NFC mobile solution for the trial including a mobile wallet, Over-The-Air (OTA) fleet card provisioning infrastructure software, promotion management software, and contactless/NFC terminals installed at Sheetz locations.

NFC is compatible with the ISO 14443 Contactless Standards being used in tens of millions of contactless credit and debit cards issued under major brand names. There are close to half a million contactless terminals already deployed in the United States. According to Juniper Research, by 2011 about 470 million mobile phones will include NFC. ViVOtech will be showcasing its contactless and mobile phone payment solutions at the National Retail Federation (NRF) annual convention January 11-14 in New York City. 

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet