New Device Lets You Pay Cash To Fill Up Your Tank Without Leaving Deposit

If you want to pay cash at the gas station, chances are you either need to pre-pay or leave some sort of deposit inside before the attendant will even unlock the pump. But a station in Saginaw, MI, is testing a new pump technology called Post-Pay that allows cash-paying customers to unlock the gas pumps with a mere swipe of a driver’s license.

When they’re done fueling the car, drivers can pay for fuel with cash at the station’s register. But, if they “pump and run” without paying, the information captured from the license swipe is transferred to the police.

This could be a nice option for people who don’t know exactly what it’s going to cost to fill up their tank. as Post-Pay eliminates the need for station customers to first pre-pay–say, with $60–to fill up with fuel and then return to the register for change–because they only needed $52.36 for a completely full gas tank.

It’s also been a deterrent to pump-and-runners. In the two months since this technology went into use at one gas station, there has only been one such incident. That’s a huge drop from the 3-4/week that the station was on the hook for before installing the system.

Bob Hohn, president for Paxson Oil Company and inventor of the Post-Pay system says information from a driver’s license can’t be viewed by the cashier in the store and that the data is only recorded if a driver attempts a pump-and-run theft.

So far, the technology–which Hohn has applied for a patent–is being tested only at two gas stations owned by Paxson Oil.

Gas drive-offs drastically reduced with new invention [WJRT-TV ABC12 News]
New pump technology prevents gas theft, lets you pay after pumping [Autoblog]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    Win for ID thieves!

    [“borrows” Phil’s drivers license and heads for the gas station]

    • missy070203 says:

      ha ha ha that’s what I was thinking!

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      Next up, swipe your ID and leave a thumbprint.

      Then after that, ID, thumbprint, and DNA sample…

      • Rachacha says:

        We can just bypass the thumbprint as I could steal someone’s ID anc cut off their thumb. I suppose while I am at it, I could also collect the blood dripping from their severed thumb and save it for the next time I need gas!

    • sirwired says:

      I expect they’d need more than just a license swipe to successfully prosecute you for pump-n-run. Especially if you reported your license lost or stolen around that time.

    • HoJu says:

      Don’t forget to enter your SSN into the pumps keypad after swiping your card! Very important step in…. ensuring no gas is stolen….

    • gman863 says:

      …and watch ID thief add ATM-style card reader skimmer in 3….2….1….

  2. dulcinea47 says:

    There’s going to have to be a way for people to “cancel” their driver’s license immediately if they lose it, otherwise, it’ll be an exciting day for theives!

  3. Tim says:

    And what about licenses that don’t have magnetic strips?

  4. msbask says:

    Now I’m swiping my license, virtually my identity, to get gas? I don’t think so.

    (On a separate note, I will never understand why credit cards don’t have a PIN required to use.)

    • Gardius says:

      Chip-and-Pin Visa and Mastercards have become the norm in Canada. You’d be hard-pressed to find any new cards that don’t use that technology. The problem is that many stores are slow to upgrade to the new system.

      • euroae says:

        They’re not slow to upgrade, they’re just refusing to. When I worked as a manager in retail, I was told by HO that we would not be upgrading to chip and pin because the payment processor charged more per transaction for chip/pinned cards vs just plain old swiped. This may of changed since then, it was nearly 2 years ago.

      • Kitamura says:

        It’s not that stores are slow, it’s that they’ve been given a ridiculous amount of time to do the upgrade. IIRC, banks and credit cards are only required to have chip tech by end of next year (2012) for everyone and retailers have another year after that to have their systems upgraded. Essentially retailers are getting 5 years since the commencement of chip and pin tech in Canada to upgrade their point of sale to be compliant with the new technology.

        • cparkin says:

          It’s also that the companies supplying the hardware (mainly Moneris, Chase, and the Banks) don’t want to incur the costs to upgrade said hardware all at once.

    • Necoras says:

      It’s cheaper for the CC companies to just pay for the fraudulent charges than to upgrade their technology. Also, there’s some psychological factors where the more information you have to come up with, the more you think about a purchase, and the less you spend. The easier it is to use a credit card, the more people will spend, and the more the CC companies make.

      • Cat says:

        It’s cheaper for the CC companies to just pay for the fraudulent charges, because it’s the CC card holders who pay the fraudulent charges.

  5. OutPastPluto says:

    I don’t know. Why not just “pre-pay” at the pump with cash. You put in the cash and the pump allows you to pump that much gas.

    Perhaps it even lets you pump more gas if you put more money in like an payphone.

    That can’t be too hard can it?

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      Because every pump would be hit by thieves at night, causing thousands of dollars in damage, and possible a safety hazard. It’s not rocket science to figure out what a bad idea it is to keep tons of cash and a flammable liquid in the same location.

    • MNGirl says:

      When I lived in Taylors, SC last year, one of the gas stations close by had that option. I thought it was a great idea.

    • Lincoln says:

      The “GoAsis” in Ashland, OH (I think the single-largest non-truckstop gas station I’ve ever encountered — one of the largest convenience stores, too) does this.

      Each pump has a card reader and a bill acceptor (I think you have to go inside for change, though — I always use plastic, though)

      Meanwhile, Arco stations in California have accepted cash –near– the pumps for probably close to 20 years now (a machine separate from the pumps is on the island between every 2-3 pumps — select pump number, insert cash, pump, leave) but they don’t (or at least didn’t) accept plastic.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Yeah, I don’t understand why pumps aren’t linked to some sort of self pay system. It’s so silly that you still have to go inside to a register to pay with cash.

  6. caffeyw says:

    This type of device has been around for years the difference was that you register your license with the company. Then you can you your license to turn on the pump at any company that had the equipment installed.

  7. Hi_Hello says:

    you can go back for change?! wow. I only did cash payment once….

  8. SecretAgentWoman says:

    Uh…several chains here in Texas let you sign up for the “cash” card to swipe and pump before going in to pay. It’s worked dandy for several years.

  9. sirwired says:

    This is one of those “why didn’t anybody think of this sooner?” ideas. I like it.

  10. Southern says:

    Racetrack in Houston has been doing this for years. You have to set it up once by having them scan your license, then they give you a card to scan at the pump… once you’re done pumping then you go in to pay cash. I find it easier to just use a debit card tho.

    • thomwithanh says:

      My bank puts a $75 hold on my account if I use my debit card in a pump – even if I only buy $5 worth of gas the remaining $70 is not released for a week.

      • Southern says:

        Good point. I’ve never really had to worry about that; for some reason, my bank doesn’t even post those “pre-auth” holds.

    • pythonspam says:

      Both Racetrac’s and QT here in Georgia both offer this option. If you are consistently buying gas at the same chain, this is a convenient way to buy gas with cash.

  11. GenXCub says:

    I don’t know what was wrong with the pumps that took dollar bills. I used to see them all over the place, and now rarely.

  12. whammypower788 says:

    It’s great and all, but what about the states without a magnetic stripe on their licenses?

    • kc2idf says:

      Do any states have not-mechanically-readable licenses? New York licenses don’t currently have a magstrip, but we do have a PDF417 2D barcode.

  13. PLATTWORX says:

    I have not paid cash for gas since 199-….. that long ago.

    I do not have time to go inside, hand over $30 use only $24 go back for my $6 change. Hell, one trip inside is a waste of time. Swipe my credit card (never debit… too risky) and go.

  14. anker says:

    I use this station all the time. This is why we are taking drastic measures.

    “With a crime rate of 71 per one thousand residents, Saginaw has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 14. Within Michigan, more than 97% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Saginaw

    I’m also the vice-president of the neighborhood association where this is located. It’s a tough, worn bleak city that we’re talking about here. This is a sign that things are not getting any better in the Covenant Neighborhood and with the cuts that the state is making it’s only going to get worse before the winter is over. We had more three people shot over the weekend and two armed robberies since Monday, one happened just a half hour ago.
    This is becoming the reality of living in Michigan, it’s just sad. So, so sad.

    • msbask says:

      Explain to me how swiping my license before pumping gas is going to change any of that?

      • anker says:

        It’s not going to change anything, I didn’t say it would.
        This is a consequence of what our city has become because of the already high crime level we have. It’s only going to get worse as time goes on.

  15. SporadicBlah says:

    This could eventually lead to all transactions requiring a DL or ID card. Its already next to impossible to stay in a hotel without ID. I have nothing to hide but I hate being tracked.

  16. crispyduck13 says:

    “says information from a driver’s license can’t be viewed by the cashier in the store and that the data is only recorded if a driver attempts a pump-and-run theft.

    Does that story sound familiar to anyone else? Just like how those body scanners at the airport “can’t store data” which was proved to be a complete and total lie. Also I second/third the other comments about how long it would be (2 days) until someone puts a skimmer on one of these.

    • menty666 says:

      or those swipes are sold for marketing info, or analyzed by the insurance company, “You’re filling up so soon??”

  17. tz says:

    So as soon as someone can clone or even falsify (dead people’s info – in MI the number uses soundex coding) the info, some random innocent will be arrested for the drive off?

  18. maxhobbs says:

    1) Steal someone’s driver license
    2) Get gas
    3) Profit

  19. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It won’t work here in El Paso. There is a city ordinance that all pumps must be pre-paid (too many runners and calls to police).

  20. Blatsnorf says:

    The QuikTrip (QT) stations in Missouri have been doing this for over a year already… they have what they call the pump-start card. They have all of your info on file and know it’s you when you swipe your card.

  21. mistyfire says:

    I live in Oregon. Have full service. It spoiled me. I had to learn how to pump my own gas when I planned a trip to Washington. This feature will help me next time I go.

  22. hahatanka says:

    The regional stores, QuikTrip. Checks your license once, give you a “PumpStart” card. use that at the pump, then go in and pay. great as I write checks, so I can fill up, then write the check for the exact amount.

  23. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Why don’t they just install bill taking apparatus on the pump, like soda machines?

    • hahatanka says:

      A pop machine might have $20 in it. A gas pump would have hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Thieves would wait for the cash removal times. Too much a security risk.

      QT’s PumpStart have been around for over 5 years. QT also never has fewer than 2 employees in the store. Cuts their robberies drastically.

  24. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    If you get gas at Sheetz, you can get a My Sheetz card that will turn the pump on so you don’t have to prepay if you want to pay with cash. It also gives you 3 cents off per gallon, every day. If you buy drinks or sandwiches, it keeps track and then you get a free drink/sandwich after you buy 10 total. Every so often, they will also load a candy bar or other sundry item on the card for free.

    I’d much rather use the Sheetz card than swipe my driver’s license. I’d be afraid I’d lose my license taking it in and out of my wallet like that.

  25. Shorebreak says:

    At the stations in my area you can leave your license with the clerk and pump your desired amount. When you have paid you get your license back. Simple and effective.

  26. Stickdude says:

    What if my license is only viewable on my smartphone via the “Driver’s License” app?

    Can I just wave my smartphone in front of the pump?

  27. gman863 says:

    The newest game in Houston is a lower price per gallon if a customer purchases a “Cash Card” (a prepaid gift card good at that station only). If someone buys a $40 card and only pumps $30 in gas, the remaining balance on the card is good for gas or store purchases on their next visit.

    I’m guessing the logic on this is…

    * No chance of “pump and run” or fradulent credit transactions. Card purchases are CASH ONLY.

    * Mimimal (if any) processing fees compared to debit, MasterCard, etc.

    * The chance that some cards with remaining balances will be lost or forgotten about – pure profit for the quickie mart.

    Although the Cash Card discount is usually 10-15 cents per gallon, I’ve seen two stations on Hwy. 6 near Sugar Land get into a Cash Card price war with discounts as high as 40 cents per gallon.

  28. Slader says:

    … or they could do like they do here and just let you pump your fuel and pay when you are finished, without having to swipe anything.