PetrolWorld visited the Gas Pos stand at NACS in the new exhibitor area
According to petroleum market organization Conexxus, fuel service stations account for roughly $400 million of counterfeit fraud annually. As a result, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express moved to mandate that all fuel service stations must replace their magnetic strip-based pumps with EMV chip-reading pumps — or else be held liable for any fraud incurred through those fuel service stations. The EMV change-over deadline extended from 2017 to October 2020, but that’s little solace to outlets now faced with upgrade costs that start at $25,000 and easily run north of $150,000. For some fuel service stations, such numbers may exceed their annual profit.
Jockeying for Gas Pos-ition
For small, often unbranded fuel service stations, these five- and six-figure expenses can close a business. Even larger operations may be forced to take on debt to survive the staggering up-front conversion costs. However, in a move that reflects so many modern, disruptive technology advances, startup Gas Pos has a radical solution.
“Our value prop for retailers is simple,” says Gas Pos founder and CEO Joshua Smith. “We spent eight months designing and testing an EMV upgrade module called Switchly that will plug into existing fuel service stations and connect with encrypted wireless back to an in-store communication station. We can come in, give them modern software, online access, and all the things they need. It doesn’t cost them anything up front. The average customer will save $30,000 in day-one capital expenditures.”
The above numbers are not overinflations. According to Visa, “older fuel service stations may need to be replaced before adding chip readers, requiring specialized vendors and breaking into concrete.” Replacement costs alone, before running new wires or suspending pumping operations, typically run from $6,000 to $10,000 per pump. After considering all expenses, Gas Pos saves gas stations owners roughly $17,000 per fuel service station and helps them keep 30 days of fuel sales they would otherwise lose to downtime.
Another problem facing fuel service stations heading toward the 2020 EMV deadline is a significant labor shortage. Across the U.S., approximately half a million fuel service stations need EMV upgrades, and it’s reasonable to expect the press of upgrade requests to increase as the deadline grows closer. Alternatively, Gas Pos partners with qualified service fleets across the country able to provide quick, seamless servicing. From the first phone call to completion, Switchly and Gas Pos platform installations average three weeks and come with a 90-day, no-questions money back guarantee.
In that Gas Pos upgrade period, stations receive hardware and software, training, and a lifetime warranty on all equipment. Whereas conventional pump servicing can take anywhere from 12 hours to multiple days, Gas Pos delivers a four-hour break-fix turnaround.
A Legacy of Success
Gas Pos is the fuel pump industry’s first software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, meaning that, as with so many household names from the computing and Internet worlds, the Gas Pos platform delivers its intuitive, constantly improving software platform in a way that requires zero maintenance by the user. An affordable subscription model replaces costly legacy package purchases, and features such as inventory tracking, pricebook management, and comprehensive reporting are easy to master.
Clearly, the industry is taking notice. After one year of operation, Gas Pos now services over 175,000 consumers per month, but that’s only a drop in the tank. Fuel payment processing accounts for $700 billion in annual revenue. That’s a massive business ready to benefit from a simpler, far more cost-effective payment platform.
“My family, we’re merchants,” says Josh Smith. “We’re retailers, grocery store owners, restauranteurs. We’re small business owners. Our passion has always been and remains helping customers. With Gas Pos, we’re here to fix something that I think is wildly wrong. This was a case of planned obsolescence and a money grab worth billions to a few big corporations, no matter who got hurt. We want to eliminate the pain.” PWKD03102018