LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. launched Pay by Plate payment technology in Sweden on April 22 with plans to roll the technology out across its Circle K retail network.
Pay by Plate offers a completely frictionless customer experience that enables customers to pay for fuel using sign recognition and a mobile app.
The rollout marks a key step in Circle K's journey to enhance its forecourt offering and ensure it meets the needs of future customers, the company said. Circle K is the first fuel retailer to introduce the technology across a full national network.
"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. The need for change and a move towards a more frictionless forecourt experience is driven by the clear changes we see in consumer behavior," said Circle K Chief Information Officer Deb Hall Lefevre. "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."
Couche-Tard first piloted Pay by Plate at select Circle K stores in Norway. Based on customer adaptation to the new and easy fueling experience, the company plans to roll it out across wider parts of the Circle K network in the coming years.
The service requires no card or PIN for transactions. Customers simply drive onto the forecourt, fill up and pay for the fuel on the Circle K Easy Fuel app through number plate recognition. The technology behind Pay by Plate aligns with established number plate recognition technology frequently deployed in the operation of road tolls and parking garages/carparks across Europe, and will be familiar to many European drivers, the company said.
"We are really excited to launch our new Pay by Plate technology in Sweden," said Hans-Olav Høidahl, executive vice president operations Europe, Circle K. "At Circle K, we pride ourselves on understanding our customers, and we know they are becoming increasingly focused on ease, speed, consistency and quality of service. The expansion of Pay by Plate will allow us to meet this demand, further simplify and enhance the customer experience as we differentiate our forecourt offering."
The evolution of Circle K's forecourt is in line with broader global imperatives as the world comes together in a concerted effort to tackle climate change in a meaningful way, according to the company. Circle K believes it has a pivotal role to play in managing the transition from fossil fuel to electrification and sustainable fuel alternatives, and is proud of leading the transition to seamless solutions, the retailer stated.
"Our vision for our Circle K forecourt offering is based on delivering the very best customer experience, the best product range to match the current and future energy needs of our customers," Hans-Olav Høidahl added.
Laval-based Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,200 stores.