WEX Inc. will begin offering a more secure chip-based payment card to its fleet customers in 2019 and plans to test the new card in 2018, according to the company.
The WEX chip card will come a year ahead of the payment industry's planned liability shift in 2020 to transfer responsibility to merchants, which will need to replace their point-of-sale hardware at the pump to enable the acceptance of chip cards.
The new card will meet the payment industry's EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) standard and will include a microprocessor chip that stores and protects cardholder data in a more secure way than existing cards that use a magnetic stripe.
With the new card, WEX will offer a closed-loop fleet card, meaning the company handles the entire process of the payment chain. WEX offers a host- rather than card-based model of payment card that allows commercial users to manage controls — such as purchase levels, products that can be purchased, and number of transactions per day — without having to issue new cards.
The chip card will also allow fleet managers to set 14 different prompting options — up from eight on the current card — that asks drivers to input odometer readings, miles per gallon, driver identification numbers, and other data at the pump.
The new card will offer companies "greater flexibility for customizing the data," said Bernie Kavanagh, senior vice president and general manager of North America large fleet and strategic relationships for WEX.
"We believe our customers deserve a thoughtfully designed product – not off-the-shelf technology," said Kavanagh. "WEX has designed a premium chip with additional layers of security, which leads current technology and sets a new industry standard."