Payment Terminals for EV Charging:
The Practical Guide
With the increasing trend towards digital transactions, the ability to accept cashless payments on EV chargers has become paramount for EV charging network operators to meet the evolving demands of the market.
Regulatory compliance and customer payment preferences serve as strong drivers for the widespread adoption of payment terminals in EV charging. Regulatory bodies often mandate the availability of cashless payment options to ensure accessibility and convenience for EV drivers. For instance, in Europe, payment terminals are required in order to comply with regulations such as the European Union’s Payment Services Directive that promotes secure and seamless digital payments. Similarly, in California, payment terminals are mandated by the California pricing requirements, which further emphasizes the importance of providing EV drivers with a reliable and efficient payment experience.
Previously, the fragmented nature of payment systems and the need for separate apps for each charging provider acted as barriers to adoption. However, with seamless cashless payment options facilitated by terminals, EV drivers can easily pay for charging services without the need for multiple apps, simplifying the overall charging experience for EV drivers.
1. The role of payment terminals in EV charging
Payment terminals in EV charging work through a collaborative effort involving five main players: payment terminal manufacturers, payment gateways, Payment Service Providers (PSPs), acquiring banks and your charge point management system (CPMS).
The payment terminal manufacturers are responsible for building the physical devices that facilitate the payment process. These terminals are equipped with the necessary technology to securely accept and process cashless payments from EV drivers.
Payment gateways are software applications or services that securely capture and encrypt the customer’s payment data (such as credit card information) during an online transaction. The payment gateway then securely transmits this data to the payment processor.
The Payment Service Provider (PSP) is a payment processor that authorizes the transactions and transmits the transaction data to clear and settle the transactions for the charge point operator. PSPs ensure the security and reliability of payment transactions, working behind the scenes to validate and process payment requests.
The acquiring banks are the banks or financial institutions that hold the charge point operators’ accounts and handle the settlement of approved transactions. Acquiring banks work closely with the PSPs to facilitate the movement of funds from the EV driver’s account to the CPO’s account, ensuring a seamless and secure payment experience.
The charge point management system (CPMS) communicates with the charger via OCPP and collects charging data. Depending on the implementation type discussed in detail below, it may or may not control the payment terminal devices.
It’s worth noting that some market players may combine multiple roles or even encompass all roles, providing comprehensive payment solutions for EV charging operators.
2. How it works
Payment terminals have brought simplicity and convenience to the forefront. Gone are the days of navigating complex payment systems to charge an EV. At a charging station equipped with a payment terminal, the EV driver simply presents their card to the terminal, the payment process is initiated, and the charging session proceeds. Here are the key steps involved in a typical cashless EV charging payment transaction with a payment terminal.
1. The customer presents their card to the payment terminal to start a charge session.
2. An amount is pre-authorized before the session starts
3. With the preauthorization complete, the charging session starts and continues until the driver ends the session.
4. The EV driver taps his card to pay for the charging session.
5. The payment terminal reads the card data and verifies its authenticity by checking its expiry date, card number, cardholder name, etc.
6. The payment terminal sends the card details to the payment gateway that processes that data and sends it to the PSP over a secure and encrypted network.
7. The payment processor authenticates the payment details by matching the card details with the issuing bank’s database.
8. Upon successful authentication, the payment processor initiates a transaction request to the cardholder’s bank account to debit the payment amount.
9. The acquiring bank verifies and approves the transaction request and sends a response to the payment processor.
10. The payment processor sends the response back to the payment gateway that processes the data and sends it to the payment terminal to confirm the payment.
11. The payment terminal prints a receipt for the customer to sign or shows a QR code with the receipt confirming the payment transaction.
3. Implementation types
There are two ways a payment terminal can operate in an EV charging setup.
Scenario 1: Payment terminals integrated with the charge point
In this case, the payment terminal is directly built-in as part of the charger itself or mounted on top of the charger. This implementation is facilitated by the charge point manufacturer, who ensures the payment terminal is physically incorporated into the charging station along with the necessary software functionalities for seamless payment processing.
In this configuration, the payment terminal directly communicates with the charge point. As a result, the terminal is responsible for initiating the charging sessions without the need for the Charge Point Management System (CPMS) of the charge point operator to remotely start or authorize a session after receiving successful authorization from the bank. The CPMS only receives information from the charge point, conveyed through the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), regarding the start and end of a charging session on that particular charge point.
THERE ARE SEVERAL DRAWBACKS TO THIS TYPE OF CONFIGURATION
Dual system support: In this setup, the charge point operator is required to support two separate systems to configure prices; the separate back-end software of the terminal and their CPMS’s backend. This adds complexity and maintenance overhead as any updates to the tariffs need to be done in two places, and if you miss updating it in one system, you will end up with discrepancies.
Lack of tariffing flexibility: The terminal software lacks the tariffing flexibility that a CPMS such as AMPECO’s EV charging management platform offers which can seriously hinder your ability to provide versatile pricing options to your customers.
Added complexity to financial reports: Using two systems for payment processing can lead to inaccurate settlement reports, especially in the case of revenue sharing with site hosts. As the data from both systems need to be aggregated, you would not be able to take advantage of the settlement reports feature in the AMPECO system alone.
Compatibility limitations with Payment Service Providers (PSP): You must ensure that your chosen terminal hardware is compatible with your desired Payment Service Provider (PSP), adding an additional step of verification and potential limitations in your selection process.
Charger limitation: In the integrated approach, one payment terminal is usually limited to one charger. This can increase the total cost of ownership for charge point operators.
Scenario 2: Payment terminals integrated with the CPMS
Another implementation of payment terminals in the EV charging context involves integrating them with the charge point management system (CPMS) such as AMPECO. In this setup, the payment terminal is typically part of a kiosk setup, similar to parking payment meters. The kiosk-like construction provides a designated space where the payment terminal is situated. EV drivers can approach the payment terminal at the kiosk to initiate and complete payment transactions for their charging sessions.
Unlike the integrated payment terminal, in this scenario, the payment terminal establishes direct communication with your Charge Point Management System (CPMS), which then communicates with the charge point. The payment terminal relies on the CPMS system to provide information regarding the tariff and the pre-authorization amount. Once the pre-authorization amount has been approved, the terminal informs the CPMS system, which subsequently initiates the charging session and notifies the terminal accordingly. After the charging session is completed, the CPMS system informs the terminal about the price of the session. The terminal then collects this amount from the EV driver and notifies the CPMS system once the payment is successfully processed.
THERE ARE Significant advantages TO THIS TYPE OF CONFIGURATION
Centralized pricing management: You have centralized control over the configurations of your tariff plans as your CPMS is the only place needed to manage all pricing.
Support for complex tariffing: You can support complex tariffing structures, enabling the implementation of various pricing models, such as time-based rates, demand-based rates, or dynamic pricing.
Comprehensive transaction data: You have access to the total cost of transactions, historical data, and other relevant information, providing insights and analytics that can help with financial reporting, performance analysis, and decision-making.
Automated receipt issuance: With the communication between the terminal and CPMS system, it is possible to issue receipts automatically at the end of each charging session, ensuring a streamlined and convenient experience for EV drivers.
Cost reduction through shared terminal usage: By utilizing the communication between the payment terminal and CPMS system, a single terminal could work be used for multiple charge points. With shared terminal usage, you can minimize expenses, leading to improved cost efficiency.
Do more with AMPECO and your EV charging payment terminals!
4. Choosing the Right Payment Terminal
You can choose a payment terminal that aligns with your specific requirements and objectives by carefully evaluating these factors when selecting your payment terminal.
Compatibility with charging infrastructure and software
Thoroughly evaluate the compatibility of the payment terminals with your existing charging infrastructure and software to ensure smooth integration and minimize technical issues and disruptions.
Assess the cost and pricing models associated with the payment terminal as it directly impacts the financial aspects of your business.
Evaluating the time required for setup and going live ensuring minimal disruptions and swift implementation.
Ensure the geographical coverage of the PSP and acquirer you are considering supports your target markets.
Equally important is the approach to security, as the payment terminal must adhere to industry standards and implement robust security measures, safeguarding sensitive payment information and fostering customer trust.
Consider payment terminals with intuitive interfaces that provide clear instructions and ease of use for your EV drivers for a positive customer experience.
Ensure reliable connectivity as this facilitates real-time communication with the CPMS and enables swift payment authorization.
Support multiple payment options
Cater to the preferences of a diverse user base with a payment terminal that supports multiple payment options, including credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, and other contactless payments.
5. Best Practices for Implementing Payment Terminals
When implementing payment terminals, follow these best practices to ensure a successful deployment.
Firstly, carefully choose the approach that best suits your needs. Whether it’s implementing a payment terminal for a single charge point or for a location with multiple charge points, consider the specific requirements and select an approach that aligns with your goals.
Establish a maintenance schedule to conduct routine checks to ensure optimal performance and keep the payment terminals up-to-date with the latest firmware and software updates. Charge point operators should also conduct thorough testing and seek relevant certifications to guarantee reliability, compliance, and interoperability. This proactive approach minimizes disruptions and maximizes the reliability of the payment system.
Last but not least, proactively communicate the new payment options available to your customers. Inform them about the convenience and benefits of using the payment terminals, and provide clear instructions on how to use them effectively.
6. AMPECO supports the following payment terminal integrations
Payter: A leading provider of payment terminal solutions, their payment terminals include compact and versatile devices that offer secure and fast transactions, supporting a wide range of payment methods, such as contactless cards, mobile wallets, and QR code payments.
Worldline: A global leader in digital payment and transaction services with a strong presence in Europe. Worldline offers comprehensive solutions and technologies to enable secure and seamless digital payments, and its portfolio includes payment terminals and online payment solutions.
Nayax: Nayax is a leading PSP for AC and DC charging stations, providing seamless payment integration with loyalty programs and corporate systems. Operating in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel, Nayax requires one payment terminal per charger, meaning that multiple chargers cannot be serviced by a single payment terminal.
Crane Payment Innovations: Crane Payment Innovations offer a wide range of payment devices and systems tailored to various industries. Their solutions are designed to enhance customer experiences, optimize operational efficiency, and ensure the integrity of payment transactions in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Windcave: A global leader in providing secure payment gateway and e-commerce solutions. Their technology enables EV charging operators to securely process online transactions and accept mobile and online payments. With a strong emphasis on reliability, scalability, and security, Windcave offers features like fraud detection, tokenization, and recurring billing, ensuring a seamless and secure payment experience for EV drivers.
Pax: PAX is a leading global provider of electronic payment solutions, delivering innovative payment terminals and secure payment processing services. With a strong emphasis on technology and usability, their advanced payment devices and software platforms enable businesses to streamline transactions, enhance customer engagement, and ensure seamless and secure payment experiences.
7. Optimize the payment process with AMPECO and boost your EV charging business
Implementing contactless payments presents a significant opportunity for EV charging operators to alleviate payment-related challenges and deliver seamless experiences for drivers. By investing in the right payment terminal, operators can ensure compatibility with their charging infrastructure, enable flexible pricing models, guarantee secure transactions, and gain valuable data and insights to enhance customer satisfaction and optimize revenue generation.
Soon, charge point operators will be obligated to offer EV charging services via payment terminals in their network if they are not already. For charge point operators seeking a reliable and efficient Charge Point Management System (CPMS) for payment terminals, AMPECO emerges as the go-to solution. As a pioneering solution in the field, AMPECO integrates with leading terminal manufacturers and PSPs while developing our dedicated terminal app and functionality with custom features. It serves as the ideal interface for EV drivers and seamlessly connects with AMPECO’s CPMS, offering multilingual and customizable options. Moreover, AMPECO’s solution adheres to proposed AFIR regulations, providing secure and flexible options for CPOs.
With its extensive experience and practical expertise in implementing payment solutions for EV charging networks globally, AMPECO empowers charge point operators to unlock the full potential of payment terminals, elevate customer experience, and drive the growth of their EV charging business.
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