Global oil titan Royal Dutch Shell is improving Visa prepaid cardholders' experience at its US petrol station pumps by adopting Visa partial authorization, which allows drivers to more easily purchase petrol at the pump using a Visa prepaid card. Shell is in the process of expanding this service at thousands of its petrol stations across the US, Visa USA revealed.

According to Visa, Shell’s strategy will give customers greater convenience, security and choice in payments and will make Visa prepaid cards even easier for consumers to use at the pump. In addition, the partial authorization solution can prevent declined transactions when the balance on a Visa prepaid card is less than the typical cost of a full tank of gas.

The partial authorization solution allows the consumer to use a wide range of Visa prepaid cards, which the cardholder inserts at the automatic fuel dispenser to begin pumping petrol. The Visa authorization service checks with the card issuer for funds available for the gas purchase, and the pump can now be instructed to shut off if the funds reach zero.

According to Visa research, partial authorization can help average approval rates increase by up to 25% at automated fuel dispenser (AFD) merchants that use the solution. With this solution in place, Visa prepaid cardholders can conveniently pay at the pump rather than having to pay inside. It also helps AFD merchants avoid the potential loss of valuable sales.

Visa is focused on building the prepaid category infrastructure to help ensure convenient acceptance and to give consumers greater flexibility to use Visa prepaid cards in more places, said Todd Brockman, senior vice president of prepaid products for Visa USA. With a major oil brand like Shell using Visa partial authorization, consumers can now more easily pay for gas at the pump with a Visa prepaid card.