Technology/Services

Couche-Tard Set to Expand Pay by Plate Across Entire Circle K Network

New frictionless technology enables customers to buy fuel with license plate recognition, mobile app
couche-tard circle k pay by plate
Photograph courtesy of Alimentation Couche-Tard

OSLO, Norway — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. has introduced Pay by Plate payment technology in Sweden, a first full national rollout, and plans to expand it into new markets across the entire Circle K global network.

Pay by Plate is an innovative payment technology, which will enable Circle K customers to pay for fuel using sign recognition and a mobile app, offering a completely frictionless customer experience. It marks a key step on Circle K's journey towards enhancing its forecourt offering and ensuring it meets the future needs of customers, the retailer said.

Pay by Plate, which has been piloted successfully in select Circle K stores in Norway, officially launches in Sweden on April 22. Based on customer adaption to this new fueling experience, the plan is to roll it out across wider parts of the Circle K network in the coming years.

The service requires no card or PIN for each transaction. Customers drive onto the forecourt, fill up with fuel and, through license plate number recognition, pay for the fuel on the Circle K Easy Fuel app.

The technology behind Pay by Plate aligns with established number plate recognition technology frequently deployed in the operation of road tolls, parking garages and carparks across Europe.

“At Circle K, we know the forecourt of today is not the forecourt of tomorrow, and we are committed to evolving the forecourt experience for our customers through innovation,” said Deb Hall Lefevre, chief information officer for Circle K. “The need for change and a move towards a more frictionless forecourt experience is driven by the clear changes we see in consumer behavior. As market leaders, we feel it is our responsibility to continue pushing forward the development of the forecourt and convenience retail space and ensure we are adapting today to meet the future needs of our customers.”

The forecourt at Circle K is also evolving in line with broader global imperatives as the world comes together in a concerted effort to tackle climate change in a meaningful way, said the company. Circle K has a pivotal role to play in managing the transition from fossil fuel to electrification and sustainable fuel alternatives and is among the leaders of the transition to seamless solutions for its customers. Increased sustainability is integral to our mission of making our customers' lives a little easier every day.

Circle K is Laval, Quebec-based Couche-Tard’s global brand outside of Quebec. Couche-Tard's full network includes more than 9,260 c-stores in North America, with more than 7,100 in the United States under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners and approximately 2,100 in Canada under the Circle K, Mac's and Couche-Tard banners. In Europe, under the Circle K and other banners, Couche-Tard operates a retail network in Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia including 2,722 stores and unmanned automated fuel stations. And under licensing agreements, more than 2,220 stores operate under the Circle K banner in 15 other countries and territories (Cambodia, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam), which brings Couche-Tard’s worldwide total network of approximately 14,200 mostly Circle K-branded c-stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer road transportation fuel, in 26 countries.

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