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01.10.17

Payments Paradise by the Dashboard Light: Visa, Honda Test-Drive In-Car Transactions

Honda is conducting the first proof-of-concept demonstration of in-vehicle payments with infrastructure parking and fueling partners at 2017 CES in Las Vegas as part of its ongoing partnership with Visa Inc.

Honda is conducting the first proof-of-concept demonstration of in-vehicle payments with infrastructure parking and fueling partners at 2017 CES in Las Vegas as part of its ongoing partnership with Visa Inc.

Honda and Visa are testing a system that enables a driver to pay for fuel and parking from inside Web-connected cars, the latest development in the emerging Internet of Things, and yet another sign that more payments are moving beyond physical payment cards.

The announcement, made from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, also involves fuel pumps from Gilbarco Veeder-Root and smart parking meters from IPS Group, both of which join an effort begun by the car maker and payments network in 2016.

Here’s how the technology works, according to Honda: Drivers are notified that they can pay for fuel or parking when they are near a smart parking meter or fuel pump. Depending on the services, the purchase amount is displayed in the dashboard and drivers confirm payment with the touch of a button, paying via previously stored payment information. For parking, drivers can set the time they’ll need from the dashboard display; those consumers then can add time via their smartphones when away from their vehicles. Honda said it’s talking with “a number of other companies that will continue to help ease the various innovative payment processes of other car-based transactions.”

Neither Honda nor Visa gave any indication about when this technology would hit the mainstream. “Turning the car into a platform for payments offers a nearly endless array of ways for automakers, drivers, merchants and other infrastructure companies to completely transform tasks that are tied to cars in some shape or form,” said Avin Arumugam, senior vice president, internet of things, for Visa. “Working with Honda, we both see the huge opportunity this presents for our respective industries, and how we can collectively simplify many daily tasks from the car.”

Honda and Visa are not the only heavyweights of commerce trying to make cars smarter and more digital. Earlier this month, Ford Motor Co. said that this summer, it will begin deploying in its cars Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, which will enable drivers to use voice commands to order items from the online retailer, find stores, play music, check news, get directions and perform other tasks.

Also last week, the financial services arm of car manufacturer Volkswagen Group has bought parking payments firm PayByPhone, a deal that underscores the appeal of mobile payments and bolsters the automotive company’s presence in the parking transactions space.

The Honda-Visa test comes amid fresh security concerns about the IoT as cars, appliances and other devices become Web-enabled. Last week, for instance, the Federal Trade Commission offered a $25,000 top prize to people who can “create an innovative tool that will protect consumers from security vulnerabilities in the software of home devices connected to the Internet of Things.”

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