Garages to accept debit cards

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Petroleum companies are catching on to BP's pioneer acceptance of debit cards to pay for fuel.

The petrol giant invested R20million to avail portable debit card readers at its forecourts last August as an alternative to paying cash or using a petrol card.

Almost a year later, 425 sites of BP's 573 filling stations allow debit card payments - reducing cash transactions by more than R280million and further decreasing chances of armed robberies at filling stations.

Shell Southern Africa communications manager Dennis Matsane said the company's recent national pilot launch of debit card payments for fuel at selected filling stations had been positive.

Matsane said some of Shell's retailers had accepted debit card payments prior to the pilot, but this was the first official initiative to inform the public.

He said the company would continue to monitor and test the ability of the debit card payment system success before it considered a full launch to its stations.

"The facilities and infrastructure for the option have always been available, but we had left it at retailer preference.

"Since the launch of the pilot we have noticed an increase in customers who preferred to use their debit cards to cash. The attraction seems to be the comfort of not taking cash directly out of their pockets," said Matsane.

Engen group communications manager Tania Landsberg, said the company had been watching the debit card payment option with interest but had not made any concrete decisions.

Landsberg said: "There are some complications we are looking at, such as what banks would allow, but we are looking into it."