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Prism to deliver cashless fuel purchasing system to Saudi Arabia

27 February 2002 News

Secure electronic payments company, Prism Holdings, has been contracted by OPW Fuelling Components Europe to supply a smartcard-based payment system for fleet and private petroleum purchases. OPW is a subsidiary of Dover Resources, a world-leading fuel-handling components specialist.

A pilot, proof-of-concept project, valued initially at some R2m, is to be rolled out on the forecourts of a petroleum retailer in Saudi Arabia in early 2002. Subsequent implementation of the system at petrol stations throughout the country is likely to generate more than R30m for Prism over two years, according to the company.

Based on Prism Altos technology, the payment solution is to be integrated with OPW's existing fleet control products incorporated in the company's forecourt site controllers and pumps. Altos is an end-to-end chip-based secure payment scheme that enables e-purse functionality within closed environments.

Erica Robertson, a sales director at Prism, says the deal is a coup for Prism as OPW is an acknowledged leader in every aspect of the fueling equipment business.

Dick van der Winden, general manager for OPW Europe, says initial contact was made with Prism at an exhibition in Johannesburg in 2000 at which time the market in the Middle East was not ready for a sophisticated smartcard payment scheme. This situation changed during 2001 and OPW selected Prism as their solution provider.

How the system works

Fleet vehicles are fitted with OPW vehicle identification tags (VITs) that are 'read' as soon as the bowser nozzle is inserted into the vehicle's fuel tank. In addition to identifying the vehicle, it also determines how much fuel is required and the vehicle odometer reading. This information is sent to a site controller on the forecourt. The site controller is connected to a Prism terminal into which the vehicle's driver inserts a smartcard that has been preloaded with funds for fuel purchases.

The terminal validates the card as 'belonging' to the driver and determines the amount of funds available on the card. It then 'preauthorises' the fuel purchase. This information is transferred to the site controller which then authorises the pump to dispense the correct amount of fuel. The availability of funds on the card for future fuel purchases is automatically adjusted once the transaction is complete.

Prism says that the system not only removes cash from the purchase process, but that it also decreases the risk of fraud for fleet owners. Reasons are because there has to be a correlation between the vehicle's VIT and the driver's smartcard, the card can only be used for fuel purchases, and the amount of fuel to be supplied is automatically predetermined and authorised.

The same payment system can be used for non-fleet vehicle owners who simply load their smartcard with 'cash', and use this to pay for fuel purchases says the company.

For further information contact Erica Robertson, Prism Holdings, 011 548 1000, www.prism.co.za





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