fuel companies

Is your fuel card system future-proofed? A checklist for CEOs and CIOs

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Everyone loves changes, nobody wants to be changed. Payments are one of the most dynamic areas in the fuel retail business, encompassing how customers pay at fuel stations, how fleet companies control their fuel expenses, and how merchants motivate customers to pay faster and buy more. At some point, to meet the ever-changing customer expectations, you have to look at your current fuel payment system and ask yourself: ‘Is it still fit-for-purpose? Do we need to change?’         

Your system probably fits the needs of your business now and for a couple of years into the future. But will this still be the case in 2022? We encourage you to challenge yourself. Is your current system for managing fleet card payments ready for your “next big thing”? 

walter

This checklist was designed by Walter Van Huyck, an expert in fleet card systems who has led the development and marketing of international fleet card systems for major fuel retailers, such as Lukoil and ConocoPhillips. Now Walter works as Business Relationship Manager at OpenWay, a software provider of fleet card issuing and acceptance solutions. 

CEO checklist
  1. Does your system support business growth? 

This is the most important question. When you expand cross-border, your fuel card system should support multi-currency payments and be compliant with local accounting regulations. If you acquire or merge with another fuel company, the system should be able to handle multiple entities, with streamlined card payments operations across all business units. Furthermore, if you have a successful year and double your customer base, your system should be able to process increased volumes without issues. Modern systems provide scalability and do not limit your growth opportunities. 

2. Are you flexible enough to provide the best experience for your customers? 

As a fuel retailer, you want the best service experience at your petrol stations for corporate drivers and individual customers alike. They deserve the latest payment innovations you can offer. But if your card system or service provider is lagging behind, you lose control over how and when you roll out new features.

For example, real-time payments have become a game changer for corporates. Your system should be able to check the limits, assess risks, calculate the best price, and apply discounts – all online and in real-time. Fleet managers expect to see the updated balance just moments after the top-up.

For individuals, mobile and wearable payments can be a good differentiator. If drivers prefer to pay without leaving their car, then petrol stations should be able to accept this type of payment – whether it is QR-code, NFC, or in-app based. Sometimes, such innovations bring even more value to the business. One of our customers now delivers a fuel card directly to the driver’s mobile app. Users pay at stations by scanning a barcode. No plastic card is needed. They can check the balance and amount available on their account, limits on petrol types and car services in real-time. For the fuel company, it has brought significant savings on plastic card issuance and eased the pressure on customer support staff.  

3. Is your business compliant? 

If you operate in Europe, your system supports the IFSF standards as a matter of course. But recently there have been a few regulation changes that do not apply to the fuel business directly but mandate changes in business processes around customer data and the security of payments, e.g. GDPR and PSD2. Can your system adopt theses new requirements easily?     

4. How does card management fit in your business ecosystem?

B2B customers expect to be onboarded just in hours or days, not months. Also, they want to perform most fuel card operations via online portals and mobile apps. At the same time, fleet managers prefer to receive reports on fuel expenses in near real-time. This means that the whole business should work as a well-oiled machine, without interruptions and bottlenecks. This can be achieved if the core payment platform is truly online and integrates with other business-crucial components through standard, open APIs. This delivers business automation and enhances customer service. 

5. Do you have enough control over business development and service quality? 

Want to set up a new rule for price calculation for VIPs or launch a new card for tourists? How long will it take for the IT team to satisfy your request? Also, controlling service quality can be a pain point for companies that rely on third-parties to run their card business. For some types of fleet companies guaranteeing 100% service stability is a must. As an IT director of a major fuel network that uses our platform puts it: “It is not the end of the world, if a person can’t pay at the supermarket because of system downtime. But ambulances can’t be kept waiting at our stations. It may cost a life and it will definitely cause fines and reputational damage for us”.    

CIO checklist
  1. How quickly can you support requests from business?  

 Normally, a new product feature should be a matter of configuration, not a heavy customization exercise. And your team should be able to do this without vendor involvement. Sometimes new functionality can be a challenge if the current system was tailor-made for your company. You cannot always benefit from developments made for other users. So, a standardized off-the-shelf solution could be the answer.   

2. Calculate how much money you spend on payment systems integration 

Maybe it is high time to optimize the architecture to remove redundancy and complexity. For example, some of our customers manage card issuing, acquiring, and transaction switching for several countries on a single platform. This centralization delivers maintenance and vendor management savings. If you migrate data from legacy systems, the new system should be able to accommodate customer data, so that unification does not cause a loss of valuable information. 

3. Do you have enough control over your system? 

In-house vs. outsourced operations? There is no right answer here. An in-house system means agility and full control over your business, which comes together with significant investment in the team and infrastructure. On the other hand, outsourcing card operations means almost no levers of influence on the product roadmap and service stability. A good alternative can be to run your system in the cloud, thus cutting infrastructure costs while still retaining control over the product.  

Summary 

Assessing your card payment systems is not an exercise to be undertaken daily or even monthly. But some factors, such as a business expansion strategy targeting new geographies or customer segments can trigger the change and open new doors.  

Our experts will be glad to share with you how fuel companies can drive a better customer experience on WAY4, the leading digital payments platform.

OpenWay Met Fuel Card Leaders at IFSF 2018

IFSF conference

OpenWay took part in the IFSF annual conference, one of the most important global events for the retail fuel sector. Key fuel industry players met to discuss top business and technology trends impacting retail fuel and convenience store operations. The conference in Hamburg, Germany on November 6-7 attracted over 100 delegates. The hot topics this year were enhanced customer experience, open payment infrastructure, and fleet business digitalization.

IFSF (International Forecourt Standards Forum) is a community dedicated to enabling technology standards to benefit automotive fuel and energy retailers. OpenWay, a developer of the end-to-end digital payments software for fleet card issuing and acquiring, holds a technical associate membership of the IFSF. This allows us to collaborate with the IFSF working parties on developing and incorporating the standards into our solutions.

“We believe that the IFSF organization will make the fuel industry implementations easier thanks to its ambition for a single standard. For OpenWay, this conference is another good opportunity to interact with different actors across the industry to get valuable insights and streamline our technical communications. The IFSF membership helps to position our company as a technological leader in the fuel payment industry,”- comments Frederic Richel, consultant at OpenWay.

The conference is a good opportunity for representatives of global fuel companies, technical suppliers, card acquiring processors, and consulting companies to network. The following industry bodies also met during the conference: 

  • Conexxus: a non-profit, member-driven technology organization dedicated to the development and implementation of standards, technologies innovation and advocacy for the convenience store and petroleum market.

  • NEXO: an open, global association dedicated to removing the barriers present in today’s fragmented global card payment acceptance ecosystem.

  • OMG: one of the largest and long-standing non-for-profit, open-membership consortia developing and maintaining computer industry specifications.

  • NACS: the National Association of Convenience Stores & Fuel Retailing, serves the convenience and fuel retailing industry by providing industry knowledge, connections and advocacy to ensure the competitive viability of its members' businesses. 

The main discussions focused on the technologies that can help to create a superior customer experience in fleet payments:

  • Frictionless payments such as “1-click” button, recurring, payment method alternative available, mobile checkout

  • Invisible security: moving from PIN capture to biometrics

  • Value-added services through new technologies such as voice assistance, cashier-less stores, AI for service personalization and fraud prevention. 

During the conference the targeted workgroups elaborated on the readiness of the current infrastructure for open payments and digitalization. Now IFSF is working on the standard for APIs for fuel stock management on the OAS 3.0 framework, EMV fleet tags, an acceptance protocol for tokenization and wallets, and a MIG (Message Implementation Guide) similar to the NEXO standard of the ISO 20022 protocol. Security workgroups discussed the new approaches to handling customer data. With GDPR now in force more data is classified as sensitive, which is moving the industry to a new security level, such as AES 256 encryption.


WAY4 Fleet Cards is an integrated software solution developed by OpenWay for end-to-end fleet cards issuing and acquiring. It is designed for fleet card operators that are willing to transform their card platform and grow business locally and globally. The WAY4 Fleet Cards comprises:

  • One modular platform for end-to-end fleet card lifecycle management: issuing, acquiring, transaction switching, authorizing, invoicing, settlement, reporting and digital channels;

  • Support of various types cards: fleet, payment, loyalty, cobranded and combined, both open loop and private label; 

  • Embedded value-added services for fleet cardholders based on customer data analysis, loyalty programs, tokenization and mobile payments, wallets and other alternative payment methods.


What to Consider When Choosing a Technology Partner to Power your Payments

Published at: Business Day

Customers are demanding sophisticated financial products and services anytime, anywhere, using any channel.

From Africa to Europe, the Middle East and the US, the change in customer expectations is a significant global trend. Consumers are not only comparing banks with other banks; their expectations are also rapidly being shaped by technology companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Apple and other facilitators that ease their lives and give them the desired experience. And consumers and businesses are now demanding sophisticated financial products and services anytime, anywhere, using any channel.  

To deliver on these new expectations requires the right type of digital capabilities behind the scenes. Technology platforms must be flexible, scalable and work end to end. Naturally, they must also be secure and work across all channels – the ones we know about today and the ones we don’t yet.

Yet banks and processors also have to balance seemingly conflicting demands. They want to cut costs and time to market but are constrained by their legacy IT infrastructure. This is complex and costly to maintain, and it restricts their ability to innovate. Then there is the need to maintain regulatory compliance, interoperability and 24/7 operations.

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Fintech start-ups are also piling on the pressure. These newer, more nimble players are not encumbered by legacy. They can adapt more easily to the demands of customers and regulators. The fintechs may not have scale today, but their technology allows them to compete strongly in the future.

The right type of technology helps businesses think as well as act differently. In this way, technology drives both a technical and a cultural mindset.

Considerations when choosing a partner

If the future of payments is to be open and collaborative, then banks and processors need to have the technology in place to capitalise on opportunities. This often means better rather than more technology.

Payment systems should allow different business models to run on the same platform. OpenWay’s WAY4 platform enables concurrent customer propositions and business models, both new and traditional. It offers a variety of credit, debit, prepaid and multi-currency services for mature customers, and supports financial inclusion use cases for those who are unbanked or new to financial products.

Loyalty, deposit, payment and non-payment services and online interoperability are musts for successful wallets. These five elements unite clients as varied as Equity Bank in Kenya, Asia Commercial Bank and SmartNet in Vietnam, B1NK and AzeriCard in Central Asia, Advanced Info Services in Thailand and many others that either create their own wallet products or use an existing wallet ecosystem on WAY4. Openway clients target both unbanked consumers and demanding tech-savvy users.

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Payment partner considerations

Payment method-agnostic
Open and API-rich
Scalable and flexible
Cross-border
Truly digital (across B2B, B2C, B2G, C2G and so forth)
Supports various business models
Grows your ecosystem
Backed by an experienced team

Payments live in an ecosystem. Banks and processors are increasingly having to consider how and where they operate within this wider ecosystem — and naturally with whom. Their technology should facilitate greater co-operation or competition, and sometimes both. Ideally, payments platforms should be payment-method-agnostic, open and supportive of a rich library of APIs for everything from risk management and scoring to tokenisation.

Scalability and flexibility are critical. The chosen technology platform should have the flexibility to scale up to meet business needs and the robustness to cope with sales spikes. One of Openway’s biggest clients handles up to 2,400 transactions per second with no latency. This bank has achieved 140-million active debit and credit card portfolios with a variability of products and more than 40 configurable parameters for each of them.

Invisible security is key. That the platform should conform to the latest versions of EMV, 3-D Secure and PA-DSS is a given. In addition, a good technology partner should offer a range of fraud screening and risk management services. OpenWay provides an anti-fraud engine with about 80 customisable parameters, including payment and non-payment transaction data, customer and device information and historical analysis, which bring seamless security at every customer touch point.

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Personalisation: one size fits no one in payments. Openway worked with Nordic processor Nets to implement standardised products with minimal configuration options on WAY4, enabling quicker speed to market for end clients and with Borgun (Iceland) to offer merchants personalised pricing and value-added services. Plus the product user experience is personalised in real time due to the event-driven configuration.

Omni-channel is the default for banking and payments today. Customers should not see or feel the awkward join as they bank or shop online or in person at a branch or store. Openway helped Halyk Bank, one of the most innovative financial institutions in Central Asia, power the front-end omnichannel experience across e-commerce and face-to-face acceptance.

Commerce becomes more and more borderless. Top European processors have built distributed installations worldwide on WAY4 for issuing, acquiring, gateway and wallet services. For example, Six Payment Services successfully migrated close to 40 banks to WAY4 within two years. When the client’s digital strategy or domestic/regional regulations require on-soil presence, the platform allows the combination of cross-border centralised installations with local ones in the distributed processing environment. Good examples are Nets serving its banks throughout the Nordics, and Credorax working with merchants across Europe, both on the WAY4 platform.

Knowledge, skills and experience count for a lot in the brave new world of payments. OpenWay has more than 20 years’ experience in managing complex projects in multiple countries worldwide. The company has built national payment switches for countries, helped facilitate social payments for governments and interoperable mobile payments for banks and operators, and managed fuel card payments for oil companies. Leveraging this, the National Bank of Greece recently replaced its legacy mainframe systems with the modern, future-proofed WAY4 platform, and received recognition for delivering the best large-scale IT project in 2018.

The WAY4 system is an open, digital-payments software platform, used by 135 banks, processors, telecom and oil companies across the globe. OpenWay has been independently ranked as a market leader in card and merchant management by Gartner since 2009 and Ovum in 2015-16, and as a market leader in digital wallets (Ovum 2016).

THE ANALYTIC REPORTS

For more information, click to download the analytic reports.

OpenWay and LICARD’s Unique IT Project Promotes Cashless and Contactless Payments at LUKOIL Filling Stations Worldwide

LICARD, a key player in the Russian and CIS fuel card market, and OpenWay, a leading international developer of IT solutions for payment card issuing and acquiring, have implemented a unique project. For the first time in the history of the Russian fuel and energy industry, all types of bank, fuel and loyalty cards were united on a single processing platform. LICARD’s choice is the WAY4 platform from OpenWay.

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Based on WAY4, LICARD’s new system for payment processing and financial transaction accounting was launched. It processes bank, fuel and loyalty card payments, both online and offline, keeps detailed accounting records for all card transactions, and provides flexible settlement to clients with individual requirements. WAY4 also supports international clearing and fuel card acquiring abroad.

An additional advantage of the system is the capability of acquiring MasterCard PayPass contactless cards. At the moment, this function is available at most of Lukoil filling stations in 65 regions of Russia. Also, implementation of the new WAY4-based accounting system has substantially shortened the clearing and settlement cycle between fuel suppliers and clients, which promoted more effective management of filling stations. Thanks to the new system, LICARD clients can now manage their cards and accounts through their personal profiles and receive mobile notifications of key changes in their accounts.

“With this new high-tech and promising and yet unprecedented solution in production, LICARD can issue new competitive products and strengthen its positions in the fuel card market,” Nikolay Yashin, LUKOIL-Inter-Card’s Deputy CEO for technological development, summed up the results of the collaboration.

“The project with LUKOIL-Inter-Card is a proof of WAY4’s wide range of functions. It can be used to specify rules for determining each product’s price when performing a transaction, set up card acquiring limits, as well as implement various schemes of settlement with clients. All transactions in LICARD’s network are managed by a single processing infrastructure. Based on our platform, LICARD will be able to implement new strategic projects without investing in new IT solutions,” said Sergey Lebedev, OpenWay’s Deputy CEO for business development in Russia.

ABOUT LUKOIL

LUKOIL-Inter-Card Limited Liability Company, a subsidiary of JSC LUKOIL, is an operator for development and use of the system for cashless fuel payments in LUKOIL filling stations with the use of plastic cards.

  • Leader in the fuel card market in Russia and the CIS.

  • Over 12 years of successful work with Russian and foreign customers.

  • Extensive service network: LUKOIL fuel cards and other types of card products are accepted via the LIKARD system in over 3,700 filling stations, including 2,756 LUKOIL filling stations, in 65 regions of Russia as well as in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Serbia. The LIKARD system is now being extended to Bulgaria, Belgium, and Turkey.

  • State-of-the-art processing, high-quality and prompt service.

  • 110 regional customer service offices.

  • Over 750 thousand LUKOIL fuel cards and about 2.5 million LUKOIL loyalty cards in circulation.

  • Over 140 thousand individuals and companies using LUKOIL fuel cards.

OpenWay's WAY4 Technology is Selected by Comdata

A Leading US Payments Innovator Enhances its Card Issuing Solutions

OpenWay Group, an international provider of innovative software for electronic payment systems, announced today that Comdata®, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ceridian, has implemented the WAY4™ solution to enhance its card processing capabilities.

As a leading business-to-business issuer and payment card processor in the US, Comdata will use WAY4 to further expand its services to corporate customers, from small businesses to large corporations.

“The competition is intense in the payment card issuing markets,” said Andrew Park, executive vice president, information technology and emerging products for Comdata. “We required a flexible, open system that has next-generation processing architecture and is capable of managing our complex business rules. OpenWay has been able to meet our business needs with its powerful WAY4 platform.”
“OpenWay is proud to be a technology partner to Comdata through our WAY4 platform,” said Wim Pardon, CEO of OpenWay Belgium S.A. “In the past, processors have had to choose between the capability of handling complex products, based on sophisticated business rules and requiring multiple channels, or the ability to support simpler products in large volumes. WAY4 was designed to eliminate the need for such a compromise. The successful implementation of WAY4 for Comdata represents OpenWay’s entry to the North American market.”

Comdata Corporation

Comdata® Corporation is redefining the movement of money and information through innovative payment solutions. Comdata provides custom solutions for a wide range of industries such as transportation, retail, government services, aviation, construction, service businesses, restaurants and hospitality. Innovative electronic payment solutions range from credit and debit cards, fleet, fuel, payroll, purchasing and T&E. Comdata’s platforms support both its proprietary and branded card networks. Headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, Comdata employs more than 1,100 people.

Ceridian Corporation

Ceridian Corp. is a business services company that helps its customers maximize the power of their people, lower their costs and focus on what they do best. The company’s suite of innovative managed human resource solutions includes payroll and compensation, employee benefits administration, staffing, compliance, HR administration and Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), work-life and health and productivity solutions. Ceridian serves businesses and employees in the United States, Canada and Europe. For more information about the human resource outsourcing company’s comprehensive array of solutions, visit www.ceridian.com or call (800) 729-7655. Through its Comdata and Stored Value Solutions (SVS) subsidiaries, Ceridian is a major payment processor and issuer of credit cards, debit cards and stored value cards, primarily for the trucking and retail industries in the United States.