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19 Feb 2024 Article

Simplify EV Charging Payments with Open Banking – Plug and Go!

EV Charging Payments with open banking explained image.

Electric vehicle (EV) charging payments and open banking is a match made in a green transition heaven. It is the perfect combination of the latest payment technology and sophisticated 21st-century engineering. 

However, while saving the planet is a good reason to switch to an EV, as Top Gear magazine distinctly notes, the main “incentive for making the switch other than doing your bit for the polar bears is electric car charging costs.” AKA save the planet, save the pennies. Indeed, where there is innovation, there is money to be made, or in this case, saved. 

Therefore, in this article, we focus on EV charging methods and why injecting open banking into the mix is much like adding nitrous oxide into your payments engine. (Bet you didn’t think you’d get a “Need for Speed” reference in a payments article now did you?). Anyhow, moving on…  

The state of EV charging payments 

Currently, the most popular location for electric car charging stations is at private residences – with that number being 80% in the UK. This makes sense for a number of reasons – however, not all of us are fortunate to have a driveway to park our cars.      

Connected to this is the demand for public EV charging stations. The number of public EV chargers is expected to grow rapidly. According to a 2023 Euronews report, “in 2022, the number of public charging points in the EU increased by 48 per cent compared to 2021, from 320,000 to 475,000. In fact, one-fourth of all the new charger points in Europe were in the Netherlands, that’s 577 public chargers per 100,000 (compared to Romania, where it’s 8). 

And the demand for a range of different payments for EV charging is also increasing. With questions over how to combine home, public, and business charging payments high on the agenda. After all, if your EV isn’t parked at home or in the street, it’s likely to be in the office car park. 

Evolving EV charging payment preferences 

For some EV drivers, card-based payments are still the preferred payment method for public chargers. Indeed, regulators across Europe are increasingly mandating their availability on public chargers. However, as with so many things, this is old technology being retrofitted into a radically new future. 

The fact is payment via ingenious apps, offering a variety of chosen payment methods should be the norm – and easy. And for some, it is. However, as Abdulwahid Ahmed, Chief Operations Officer at charging app company Northe, notes, “one of the biggest challenges is that there is no set charging standard”.

Indeed, collaborations between fintech companies, charging point operators (CPOs), businesses, and car manufacturers are set to drive innovation and adoption of new payment solutions.  

How open banking is empowering EV drivers across Europe

The EV revolution is gaining momentum across Europe, with countries like Norway and Sweden leading the charge. And as more people embrace EVs, the demand for convenient and secure payment solutions for electric vehicle charging is skyrocketing. Fortunately, for EV drivers and businesses across Europe, developing almost simultaneously is open banking.   

Open banking enables third-party providers (TPPs) to offer a world of charging possibilities via innovative payment solutions, including EV charging. In Europe, thanks to regulations such as the Payment Services Directive, open banking is providing services such as account information services (AIS) and instant account-to-account (A2A) payments which have the potential to revolutionise EV charging payments in Europe.

Making payment, onboarding, and account verification simple and (in theory at least) as easy as plugging your car into the grid. At least it will be, eventually.  

AIS: real-time information and personalised EV charging payments

Account information services (AIS) enables TPPs, such as Brite Payments, to access consumers’ account balances and transaction history – securely and with the permission of the account holder. If you want to know more about AIS, check out our recent article on the benefits of AIS, as well as how it works in practice.   

EV charging businesses can harness this valuable account data to provide EV drivers with real-time information about their charging costs, enabling them to budget effectively and avoid surprises. AIS also facilitates personalised payment options, allowing EV drivers to set up pre-authorised payments or recurring payments based on their usage patterns.

Paying for electric car charging with Instant A2A payments

Account-to-account (A2A) payments eliminate the need for physical debit cards or credit cards, allowing funds to be transferred directly between bank accounts. This particularly benefits EV charging in Europe, as it simplifies the payment process and enhances security. A2A payments are highly secure, as they are protected by the same protocols used for online banking transactions.

Benefits of Open Banking for EV charging payments

Open banking offers the perfect blend of innovation and ethos for EV charging in Europe. Here’s a closer look at the distinct advantages of payments that make open banking technologies particularly useful for CPOs and drivers of EVs when needing to pay for electric car charging:

  • Enhanced convenience: Open banking-based payment solutions make EV charging payments more convenient for drivers, as they can initiate and complete charging sessions without needing physical cards or cash. This eliminates the hassle of carrying multiple payment methods and reduces the risk of misplacing cards or cash.
  • Improved Security: Open banking transactions are protected by stringent security protocols, such as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), ensuring the protection of consumer financial information. This is crucial for the next generation of EV charging payments, as it involves sensitive financial data.
  • Enhanced personalisation: Open banking data can provide personalised payment options and charging recommendations to EV drivers thanks to the application of AIS (and other technologies). This tailored approach can optimise charging experiences and increase driver satisfaction.
  • Streamlined operations: CPOs can benefit from open banking by streamlining their payment processing operations and reducing manual tasks. This can lead to improved efficiency and cost savings.

Open banking technology could emerge as the catalyst to reshape the EV charging landscape with its unique blend of convenience, security, and personalisation. And, as the EV revolution gains momentum, the synergy between open banking and charging technology could redefine the essence of plug-and-go convenience.

The future of EV charging payments in Europe

Open banking, AIS, and A2A payments are poised to revolutionise EV charging payments in Europe. These technologies offer a more convenient, secure, personalised, and efficient payment experience for EV drivers while also streamlining operations for CPOs. As the EV market grows in Europe, we expect to see even more innovative open banking-based payment solutions emerge, further enhancing the EV charging experience.

Indeed, for Abdulwahid Ahmed, Chief Operations Officer at Northe, new EV charging payment technology is helping streamline and process that change, particularly. In how different consumer and business charging infrastructures work together. “We’ll see more sophistication and reinvestment between the employee and the employer when charging EVs. One of the things we were looking at, for example, is connecting directly with utility companies. Similar to public charging, we’re considering removing the need for customers to make multiple transactions, especially for business purposes.”

Brite Payments: At the forefront of EV charging innovation

Integrating open banking, AIS, and A2A payments into EV charging infrastructure is transforming the landscape of EV charging payments in Europe. These technologies empower EV drivers with more convenient, secure, and personalised payment options while also streamlining operations for CPOs. As the EV revolution progresses, we can expect to see even more innovative open banking-based payment solutions emerge, making EV charging truly plug-and-go.

If you would like to find out more about how Brite’s open banking powered A2A payments solution and data solutions, such as AIS, can streamline your payment processes, then get in touch with one of our open banking experts today.

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