Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mobil Develops New Device to Make Pit Stop Even Faster

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mobil Develops New Device to Make Pit Stop Even Faster

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- A gasoline marketer that helped pave the way for motorists to pay at the pump with a credit card has a new device that should speed visits to its gas stations while letting customers leave the card at home.

Mobil Corp. plans to introduce in May an electronic gizmo that can be clipped to a key chain and uses radio signals that activates the gas pump and charges the purchase with a single swipe past the pump.

The Mobil Speedpass eliminates the need to fumble through a purse or wallet for a credit card or cash and to wait for credit authorization. "The guy who wins this game is the guy who provides what the customer wants. Our target customer wants speed and this gives him speed," said Brian Baker, a top Mobil marketing executive. The passes will only be good at Mobil stations whose independent owners choose to have them installed. Mobil says the program will start in these nine markets: Boston- Rhode Island-New Hampshire, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, San Diego, Tampa and Washington, D.C. The pass will be available free of charge starting in May, and Mobil hopes to have a million in customers' hands by the end of the year. Mobil, based in Fairfax, Va., has 7,700 outlets in 28 states and the District of Columbia. The Speedpass is a cylinder about an inch long and a quarter inch in diameter that can be attached to a ring with the car keys. The cylinder contains a miniature radio transponder carrying an identification number. When the pass is waved past one of the special pumps, a radio signal from the pump triggers a response from the pass which activates the pump and begins the process of charging the purchase. Applicants specify what credit card they want to use for purchases, and Mitchell said that system checks while gas is pumping that there is enough credit available on the card to pay for it. …

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