You can do a lot of things these days without even tapping on your phone but there are still quite a lot that requires some good, old-fashioned manual work. That doesn’t always have to be the case, especially these days when people have to be extra careful what they put their hands on. Following up on a promise it made earlier this year, Amazon is finally rolling out Alexa’s skill to pay for your gas with just a voice command. There are, however, quite a number of caveats users have to keep in mind when using this new convenience.
Amazon partnered with fintech company Fiserv to make it possible to activate gas pumps at over 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations across the country. That said, payments are made via Amazon’s own Amazon Pay, of course, which simply uses the default payment option you have set in your Amazon account. If you want to change that, you have to remember to do that first before uttering the magic phrase, “Alexa, pay for gas”.
The feature also works on a variety of Alexa-enabled products but only those that you can bring with you, like Echo Buds, or have location services, like your car that has Alexa built-in. You can also use the Alexa app on Android and iOS but not the Amazon Shopping app. And forget about trying to pay for gas at home with Echo speakers, since the service requires knowing if you’re actually at a pump or not.
For those worried about the privacy and security of their voice-activated purchases, they can still use Voice Code to require a 4-digit pin to complete the transaction. Knowing your location is, of course, already a given, but ExxonMobil will also be sharing the user’s name, email address, and some payment information, like the last four digits of the card associated with Amazon Pay. You cannot use Amazon Store or Gift Cards for gas.
As it stands, this new feature has its advantages and disadvantages and will mostly depend on how much you need to say inside the vehicle. Despite the almost hands-free experience, you will still have to actually pump the gas yourself at this point (unless there are employees to do that for customers). In certain circumstances and weather conditions, however, that can be extremely useful.