CITGO began developing connected-car and mobile-payment capabilities for in-store and at the pump purchases with P97 in December 2020. Then, as COVID-19 spread through the U.S., CITGO’s tap-and-pay and near-field-communication (NFC) transactions grew from 1% of total purchases to 15%.

Eager to further improve the customer experience, Kevin Kinney, general manager of brand equity for Houston-based CITGO, wanted to make checkout more seamless. “If we were going to do mobile pay, the vision was for it to be frictionless and easy for the consumer,” says Kinney.

Since then, CITGO has been testing ways to make the experience in the store and at the pump even more frictionless, while keeping the technology as secure as possible, Kinney says.

The retailer is currently beta testing making fuel payments through voice commands using the Alexa app, either through a mobile device or a car’s dashboard controls if they include the Alexa app. The goal, says Kinney, is to release these capabilities this spring.

Expect more to come from this refiner with more than 4,600 independently owned and branded retail outlets, including other third-party integrations to be announced in the second quarter.