Fiserv: Shifting Gears on Electric Vehicle Charging Payments

Peter O’Halloran, Head of Enterprise and Digital Commerce at Fiserv, discusses how streamlining payment solutions for charging points can empower drivers

As Europe races towards the electric vehicle  era, the painful payment experience at charging points has presented a potential roadblock. However, this is set to change amid new regulation across the continent. The EU announced the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), which called for all charging points in EU countries to offer more convenient payment options to encourage adoption of electric vehicles. With new EU rules set to apply by 13th April 2024, and the UK now also considering its own legislation, it’s time for charging point operators to rethink their payment infrastructure. 

Peter O’Halloran, Head of Enterprise and Digital Commerce at Fiserv, tells us more. 

 

The payment challenge for EV drivers

More and more, consumers are opting to charge their cars at retail outlets and supermarkets that offer EV charging in their parking areas. The draw is convenience: being able to charge while they shop. However, the current model for making payment at an EV charging point has been a bug bear for drivers. 

“Depending on where they choose to charge that day, drivers are forced to register for and use a range of apps for each charging point provider to manage their payments,” says O’Halloran. “These closed-loop payment options not only add friction, but also require drivers to commit to subscriptions and higher prices to charge their car.”

This has been a big driver behind the regulator’s new payment policy for charging points. 

 

New payment policy in the EU and UK

The new rules for EV charging payments outlined within AFIR mandate more convenient and familiar card and contactless payment methods to standardise the customer experience. 

“Users of electric vehicles must be able to pay easily with cards or contactless devices, and crucially, without the need for a subscription,” he adds. “The emphasis here is to empower drivers to use barrier-free payment methods that are convenient and familiar to them. While these rules only apply to countries that are part of the EU, others are expected to follow.”

The UK released its own draft legislation in July last year. If the law is passed, charging point operators would similarly need to ensure consumers can pay via contactless payment methods within one year after coming into effect. 

“This presents a big project for any retailer that is hosting a charging point,” says O’Halloran. “The European regulation stipulates that a newly built store must offer an EV charging point if there are more than 10 parking spaces.”

From 2026, it will also be necessary to retrofit existing branches, provided they have more than 30 parking spaces. 

“Payment providers have an important role here to ease the burden for retailers, but also to help them capitalise on the opportunity ahead,” adds O’Halloran. 

 

How payment providers can add value

Retailers are looking for solutions that are easily implemented as they navigate both legal and technology requirements and look to simplify the customer payment experience.

Delivering a premium payment experience at charging points can help retailers secure a competitive advantage and use their parking space for additional revenue. 

“Those who offer the simplest experience and a wide choice of payment options can attract new customers and increase dwell time in-store, with the potential to generate even more turnover,” explains O’Halloran. 

Another key area that is being explored is loyalty schemes. Retailers have an opportunity to offer a price advantage for EV drivers via discounts or credits when they charge and buy in-store during their visit to strengthen loyalty. 

“Payment providers that can deliver easily integrated, customer-friendly solutions have an opportunity to effectively elevate the role EV charging payment plays for retailers in the drive for revenue and increased customer loyalty,” says O’Halloran.

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