Quick fuel fill-ups spark privacy warning
FUEL companies are giving drivers more options to fill up in an attempt to remove congestion at the pump.
However, Consumer NZ is warning people about giving away personal data, saying they are handing over much more than just their card details.
Z Energy and BP have launched apps which offer customers the option of filling up their car without setting foot in store.
Z Energy is trialling ‘‘Fast Lane,’’ which allows drivers to pull up to dedicated pumps, fuel up and drive off without leaving their car, touching their phone or even their wallet.
Its rival BP allows customers to pull up to any pump, select their pump, fuel type and amount to spend before filling up and driving off.
Both companies use an app, which is pre-loaded with card details. In Z’s case, the app is also loaded with the car’s number plate, which is recognised by cameras at the service station.
Consumer NZ head of testing Paul Smith wanted to remind consumers to check what they were signing up for, and what the company would do with the data.
’’Consumers should realise they are giving up a lot of their personal data to the fuel company, [which is] a concern for many of these loyalty schemes.’’
The apps, as well as card loyalty programmes such as AA Smartfuel, meant consumers were effectively giving up data about their driving habits, grocery shopping ‘‘and much more’’, Smith said.
However, he thought the Z system – which is being trialled at 10 stations in Auckland and Christchurch – would go down well.
‘‘It’s a logical extension of the pay-at-pump idea, using a phone as the interface. The number plate recognition system is used at airport parking too, so it’s all tech that’s in place and should work well,’’ Smith said.
‘‘However, with the Z service, consumers need to be aware that it’s based on your number plate, you don’t need your phone with you, so anyone driving your car can refuel,’’ Smith said.
‘‘That could be a good thing, adding convenience for other family members, or a risk.’’
Consumer NZ is warning motorists to be aware of the data they give away.