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Mapco launches in-app payments with PayPal

The Brentwood, TN-based retailer also has integrated its My Rewards loyalty program into the app, and has bolstered the discount it offers customers who pay with the app. The move to allow PayPal payments within the app rather than directing them to the PayPal Web site marks a new innovation for mobile payments at a regional c-store chain, a Mapco representative said.

“We are seeing continued use and growth of the application,” said Howard Curtis, director of marketing and customer relationship management at Mapco. “We think this will be an interesting adoption curve, only because we are the only ones to have this offering.”

Mapco operates 373 retail locations under various banners in several Southeastern states. It has had a mobile application for almost a year, but the functionality was largely focused on store-location and the My Rewards program.

Added benefits
Mapco began testing mobile payments a few months ago in a soft launch for its My Rewards customers and for customers of PayPal.

One of the attractions of the mobile payment option for customers is an additional discount that Mapco is offering. Customers who pay using PayPal in the mobile app receive an extra 2 cents per gallon off the price of gasoline, on top of the instant 3 cents per gallon that My Rewards program members receive.

“Mapco is at the forefront of bringing rewards to customers,” Mr. Curtis said. “The rewards program is pretty robust.”

Members of Mapco’s My Rewards loyalty program also earn points based on their purchases, which can then be redeemed for discounts on gasoline and for free products.

Customers using the app acknowledge that they have received a discount, which served to remind them of their savings, Mr. Curtis said.

The program is unique among regional convenience and gas retailers, he said.

While New England c-store operator Cumberland Farms also offers a PayPal payment option through its app, in that case the app links custoemrs to PayPal’s Web site, as opposed to keeping them within the app (see story).

“What we have done is taken the PayPal experience and kept it native to the app,” Mr. Curtis said.

Other convenience and gas retailers have mobile payments tied to a credit card, such as Exxon Mobile’s SpeedPass.

Mr. Curtis said he believes having PayPal and and its My Rewards program integrated with the app gives Mapco an advantage.

“It makes it easier to manage your rewards,” he said. “We think this gives them added convenience. They can turn on the pump quicker than they can with a credit card.”

Mr. Curtis also said he expects that more and more convenience and gas retailers will adopt mobile payments.

“I expect higher adoption of the My Mapco app among millennials,” he said. “I expect that by this time next year, we’ll see a lot more fuel centers accepting mobile payments.”

Final Take
Mark Hamstra is content director on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York