Innovative Fueling Method Using USSD Menu

We have talked about automation and new technologies for fuel stations and how they can be implemented without integration with payment systems.

Recently, we faced a new challenge – to automate fuel stations in Africa, where many customers may not have a smartphone to read a QR-code or the ability to install an application on their phone. To improve operations of fuel stations, control fuel dispensing, and reduce the possibility of fraud, it was necessary to enhance the process of selling fuel.

All this is made possible with an innovative refueling method via USSD menu. This method is available in the Prime FMS product, which is based on the inCust platform.

How it works

To use this method, a fuel station must be equipped with the controller offered with the Prime FMS product, and the driver or other purchaser of fuel must have a cell phone connected to the mobile network. Any mobile phone will suffice, even a push-button one. 

At the fuel station, a customer sees some digital code that identifies the station. The customer enters this code into the USSD menu and sends a command with the code to the mobile operator. Through the operator, the code goes to the inCust cloud server. The fuel distribution control system that runs on the server interacts with the controller at the fuel station and determines the possibility of dispensing fuel, as well as checks if pumps are available. 

The customer selects the required pump and sees the choice of fuel grades that the pump can supply. Next, the customer chooses the fuel grade. After that, they can specify a specific amount of fuel to be purchased or an amount of money to be spent.

Important! One of the key features of our innovative platform is that the system can instantly reach customer accounts in the system suitable for paying for fueling. Our system recognizes two types of customers – retail ones, who can buy fuel with instant payment, and commercial ones that can use customer accounts to refuel. The balance of the customer account can be both fuel, money, or internal currency. Customer accounts can be either debit or credit (with an optional credit limit).

The customer can make payment in different ways: using the African payment system MPESO, USSD payment, from a customer account, or by credit card. The system immediately shows how many liters are available for purchase if you use the selected payment option. Funds will be reserved (temporarily blocked) first. Next, fueling begins, and our system will automatically track if the fuel nozzle is lifted. The fuel station carries out the dispensing. After fueling is complete, the cost of the provided fuel is withdrawn from the reserved sum, and the rest is released from reserve and becomes available for future operations. 

The inCust platform includes many ready-made tools and instruments:

  • Payment processing
  • Loyalty program
  • Fuel and energy sales
  • Mobile application and chatbot
  • Automated fuel dispensing

One of the important advantages of the inCust platform is the variety of ways of platform integration with any fuel or charging station, regardless of whether it is automatic or human-assisted.

A controller is installed at the fuel station, which controls the pumps or becomes an intermediate link between the cash system and the pumps. Customers can be served in several ways:

– using a mobile application installed on a customer’s phone

– using the USSD menu as described above

– using the self-service terminal Kiosk (a special self-service module from our company) installed at the station

– with the help of an assistant, for authorization, it suffices to provide a phone number or show the assistant a QR-code instead of a plastic card 

Regardless of the option you choose, all requests are sent to the cloud, where they are processed by inCust servers that interact with the controller.

In the Business Control Panel in the inCust system, you can see all the information about the completed transaction.

The solution for fuel stations is customized individually for the needs of each particular business. You can contact us for more information or expert advice.

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