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gaspumpWith over 90% of the US population owning a cell phone, and half of the population predicted to have a smart phone by the end of 2011, companies are rushing to reach mobile customers in creative ways.  Murphy USA, operator of gas stations and convenience stores across the US, has proactively created both a mobile payment system that anyone with a cell phone can use, as well as a Smartphone app to help them find the cheapest gas prices around.

MurPay:  New way to pay for gas… by text?

In a smart move to give customers a mobile payment option at the point of sale, Murphy USA has found a way to let people leave their credit cards stored safely away and pay for their gas by a text from their cell phone.  The new technology, called MurPay, offers consumers a secure and convenient way to buy discounted gas or convenience items from any Murphy USA or Murphy Express station.

Individuals can sign up for a free MurPay account by visiting the website, creating a login, password, their own personal CVN (Customer Verification Number), and providing their driver’s license number, checking account information, and cell phone number.  The data is kept confidential and safe, and there are no fees associated with having a MurPay account.

Once your account is set up, you can receive MurPay codes either from your cell phone or onlinemurpay from your computer.  To use your cell phone, you send a text to 304050 with the message “MURPAY” followed by the amount you want to spend (ex. “MURPAY 30”).  Then you will receive a text back that contains a MurPay code.  You can also obtain a MurPay code on the MurPay website.

The MurPay code can then be used at any Murphy USA or Murphy Express gas pump, along with your CVN, to pay for your gas or merchandise.  There is an option at the pump called “MurPay” that lets you enter your code and your personal CVN.  The payment is drawn from your checking account as a debit for the exact amount of your purchase.  Even if the code you requested was, say for $50, and your purchase was only $40.00, then only the $40.00 would be drawn from your account.  MurPay  claims to be actually safer than credit cards, since a MurPay code can only be used once, it expires within 24 hours, and is also safe from any “skimming device” that could be used to steal credit card information.

As a nice incentive for customers to use the new technology, MurPay guarantees that you will receive the lowest gas price of that station from the previous 24 hours, or 3 cents off per gallon, whichever is less.

Another advantage built into the MurPay payment system, is that users can set up to seven sub-accounts for their family members or employees.  If you have kids that have reached driving age or are off to college, you can make sure that they can always pay for gas, even without a credit or debit card, simply with a text from their phone.  You can also restrict the types of purchases that can be made with the sub-accounts, for example, restricting tobacco or alcohol purchases. This feature makes MurPay a common sense way to control you company’s fuel purchases as well, by limiting employee purchases, and making sure they are getting low gas prices.  All MurPay purchases are limited to $125.00, but account owners can also set their own limits per purchase, per day, per week, or per month, for sub-account users.

MurPay users can also choose to receive gas promotions and other deals through email or text, offering even more incentives through exclusive savings.

murphyUSAappMurphy USA Cheap Gas Finder app

In a further effort to target Smartphone users, Murphy USA has also developed a Cheap Gas Finder app for those with Android Smartphones or iPhones.  The free app reveals real-time gas prices so that users can find the cheapest local gas prices.  It displays per-gallon costs for all of the nearest Murphy USA gas stations, as well as competitors’ gas prices (making it the first gas retailer app to show competitors’ prices), proving that they mean what they say about giving their customers the best savings around.  The app even uses GPS to provide maps and directions for customers to any of these locations.  And, of course, the app also gives customers on-screen offers for further gas discounts or deals for food, drinks and other in-store items.

Jay Staggs, Manager of Communication, states "Murphy USA has always been dedicated to giving our customers the best deal possible on gas prices.  With this app, we're putting our money where our mouth is and letting our customers compare our prices to nearby competitors. Our customers can then make an informed decision about where to purchase gas.”

Conclusion

With American consumers already having made the transition to mobile devices, and continuing on a fast path to smart mobile devices, opportunities abound for companies to reach out to consumers in new ways.  Offering convenience and savings at the point of sale are among the most effective ways to gain attention and loyalty from time-crunched and budget-conscious consumers.  Murphy USA has caught on to this fact and given us some great examples of how these new technologies can be put to work for both the business and the consumer.

 

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