Monday, December 10, 2012

Experiencing Payments: The Arco Station on S. Delaware in San Mateo

Sunday December 9, 0829

So much for the user experience

This is one busy gas station.  It appears to have decent prices (for California), is right off Rt 92, one exit from Rt 101, and is a short hop to the rental car return at SFO.  That's why I was there, running late.  After no small amount of confusion, I was running later.

This station has new pumps and new card readers.  While the pump next to me said cash only, this one had the nice new readers and PIN pad so I thought I was in good shape.  I swiped my cash rewards card and even agreed to the $ 0.35 surcharge.  Then, it asked me for a PIN.

Huh?  US credit cards don't have PINs for POS payment transactions.  

Now getting anxious about getting to SFO (I like to make planes, not catch them), I go and stand in line, waiting, more anxiously, to get this figured out and over with.  

The clerk informs me that it's debit only.  Better signage would have helped.  So, it's either throw cash knowing that'll work or go back to the pump and begin the process.  I threw cash. Pumped and returned to the line for my change.

Impressive level of steering toward debit and cash.  Even more impressive that they wanted to charge the $0.35 for the transaction when I made a $43.92 purchase.  That's likely a bit more than the retailer's cost.  Or should be if he's taking advantage of the Durbin amendment.

This petroleum retailer definitely dislikes electronic payments.  And the way I experienced them at that station, I didn't care for them either.  Just for different reasons.

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