EV Charging Station Payment Solutions: What You Need to Know

Blog 2022

Look in almost any large parking lot, and you’ll likely see an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. The industry has been gaining steam for some time, spurring more auto manufacturers to invest in EVs. That means more opportunity for charging stations to pop up everywhere, which can be a solid revenue generator since – just as at a gas station – businesses require consumers to pay to charge their vehicles. But a few key factors make EV consumers different from regular gas station customers.

There’s the fact that they value convenience – thus the impetus for more charging stations in parking lots. EV consumers also embrace innovation. From a payment perspective, this means they will likely be up to speed on the latest payment methods and become frustrated by outdated payment experiences.

Four ‘Musts’ for EV Charging Payment Solutions

Thanks to a tremendous push from the federal government to fund and build up the EV infrastructure, incentives are plentiful for business owners to make sure EV owners can charge their vehicles whenever the need arises. In turn, payment solutions for EV charging stations must keep pace and accommodate unattended and, eventually, embedded payment options.

1. EV Charging Payment Methods Must Be Omnichannel

Because most EV charging stations are unattended, payment options should facilitate self-service with little to no friction. An omnichannel payment experience should include:

  • CRM and ERP integrations
  • Card-present swiped, dipped, or tapped transactions
  • Mobile app transactions
  • eWallet transactions
  • QR code technology

For example, an ideal solution would be to enable a customer to open an EV charging mobile app that is preloaded with their credit card information, allowing them to pay for the charge at the station control panel using a bar code or QR code. Easy peasy, right?

Essentially, make sure your EV charging payment solution is easier and faster to use than the unattended payment solution to pay for gas.

2. EV Charging Payment Solutions Must Be Adaptable

In the not-so-distant future, we will see payment technology evolve such that embedded payments are the norm and not the exception. What might that look like for the EV charging industry? The EV becomes the wallet.

Expect to see payment embedded in both traditional cars and EV, where the payment credentials are preloaded into the vehicle’s technology. In this scenario, EV charging payment solutions will need to allow payment authorization through an embedded QR or bar code that is scanned by the charging station and prompts the driver to tap “pay” inside the car.

But that’s just one possibility. Businesses must be thinking about how to adapt to payment technologies that haven’t even been imagined yet.

3. EV Charging Payment Solutions Must Be Safe and Secure

Regardless of how easy an EV charging station is to use, if customers are concerned that their payment information or personal credentials will be compromised, they won’t use it. This is where tokenization comes in.

What Is Tokenization?

Using a token that acts like a poker chip, tokenization replaces sensitive data stored elsewhere and uses it to retrieve that data when it arrives at its destination. Because the token itself is meaningless, there’s no risk of it being compromised. In other words, there’s no data to steal.

Tokenization works by substituting the primary account number (PAN) on a customer’s credit card with a token. The PAN isn’t transmitted, making the transaction more secure and reducing the risk that any data breach would result in fraudulent activity. Tokens can be used for more than just credit card data. They’re useful to represent any type of sensitive data.

4. EV Charging Payment Solutions Must Support Device Flexibility

Choosing a payment device is important for EV charging stations, especially when considering location:

  • Is the station in an arid or humid climate?
  • Is the temperature fairly consistent, or does it fluctuate?
  • Will it be exposed to heat, wind, precipitation, or other elements?

All these questions need to be answered while still considering price point.

Many payment processors and gateways offer a limited selection of devices to choose from. Or, their support may not be reliable, which presents a real problem in an unattended payment environment. The last thing EV charging companies want is to find out from a customer that the payment device isn’t working.

EV charging companies should consider all elements – including “the elements” – to ensure a seamless experience for customers.

However, these aren’t the only factors. EV charging companies must still strategize how to manage settlements. The unique nature of EV charging station locations makes them an excellent candidate for dynamic funding.

Dynamic Funding and EV Charging Payment Solutions

Plenty of private EV companies will own, operate, and manage their EV charging stations, collecting 100% of the revenue. That process is fairly straightforward:

  • The customer who visits the EV charging station uses their credit card, EV charging app, or some other payment method to start the EV charger.
  • The gateway authorizes the payment but doesn’t close/capture the transaction.
  • Once charging is complete, the EV charger communicates to the gateway the final cost.
  • The gateway updates the payment and closes/captures the transaction.

We also touched on the fact that EV charging stations can be located in virtually any place where a driver can park, setting up the possibility of third-party arrangements. In fact, we’re seeing a huge demand for third-party partner relationships with niche locations, such as wineries.

In these cases, a winery may contract with an EV charging company to allow the charging station on their site in exchange for a revenue share. Using traditional settlement processing, the EV charging company would collect revenue and then transfer the winery’s share at some interval using EFT or even physical checks. Not only is this process time-consuming, but it’s also resource-intensive.

However, using dynamic funding, the EV charging company facilitates revenue-sharing almost instantaneously. Let’s see how this looks in practice.

How Dynamic Funding Works

An EV charging company installs two or three chargers in the parking lot of a winery. From a customer’s point of view, the payment experience follows the same process outlined above. But the funding process is different.

Instead of collecting 100% of the revenue and eventually transferring the winery’s share at another interval, the daily settlement can be split to send each party’s share directly to their accounts.

Why is this important?

Superior experience: The winery, or any other third-party business, realizes revenue right away, which creates more brand affinity for the EV charging company and the potential for a longer-term relationship with that business.

Resource optimization: Payments partners that can facilitate dynamic funding do so through a funding API, which eliminates the need for much human intervention and conserves human resources.

Additional revenue: By automating the funding process specific to each third-party relationship, EV charging companies can enter into multiple third-party revenue sharing relationships with considerable ease.

How Payroc Makes EV Charging Payments Seamless

At Payroc, we’re poised to process the range of payment options available today, as well as pave the way for future payment technology.

We offer payment devices in all shapes and sizes with a full range of tolerances for temperature and environmental concerns. And our white glove service for all devices ensures there’s little to no downtime for payment processing.

Our dynamic funding solution is one of the most advanced, thanks to our new API suite, which makes integration easy.

With Payroc, EV charging payments is simple and seamless.

Contact us today to find out how we can help implement an EV charging payment solution for your company.