Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new payment system whereby drivers can pay for commodities such as fuel via a fingerprint sensor.
While fingerprint sensors have appeared in cars before, Mercedes said this was the first implementation of a dedicated payment system in a car.
The Mercedes Pay+ system, which it has formed in partnership with Mastercard, allows drivers to pay for several products quickly with secure biometric two-factor authentication.
Mercedes cars with an MBUX infotainment system built from 2020 onwards will be able to access the system. Others can order the sensor as an optional extra.
The software will initially only be available in Germany at more than 3600 fuel stations, but Mercedes said the technology will make its way to other European markets in the future.
It works by automatically connecting to the “connected service station”, where the system automatically calculates the maximum total spend based on current fuel prices and how much the tank needs to be refilled.
Once a driver has topped up on fuel, they’re able to get back into the car and pay using the fingerprint sensor. A receipt is also sent to the driver.
Mercedes says that, according to German market research company GfK, around half of 18- to 39-year-olds would use “would order and pay for services and goods directly via the infotainment display”.
It looks like the system might be extended to support electric car charging in the future too, as the same survey showed that “60% would pay their gas bill or electric vehicle charging directly via the car”.
While the system will be the first in a car to allow drivers to make native in-car payments, it’s not the first time car makers have delved into the world of fingerprint sensors.
Way back in 2002, the Audi A8 was offered with a fingerprint sensor that could be used to start the car. This was available up until 2007.