Product review: ENOC/EPPCO ViP Fill & Go petrol-payment tag in the UAE
ENOC and EPPCO service stations introduced the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based fuel retailing system to all customers in 2016. Known as ViP (Vehicle Identification Pass) Fill & Go, it is a completely automated and paperless system without the need for cash, fuel cards or receipts. All vehicle owners have to do is drive into the service station, refuel with the help of an attendant and drive off. We were given one of these back at launch, and here’s our experience.
ViP uses an innovative technology which consists of a securely encoded electronic security tag mounted next to the fuel-tank cap. This allows the nozzle to automatically recognise the fuelling preferences individuals have set for their car, calculate the amount of fuel filled from the dispenser, and deduct the money automatically from the individual’s ViP account. This speeds up the refuelling process and enables customers to better manage their accounts and set budgets for each fuelling transaction.
The ViP system uses radio-frequency to log in the details of the purchase at a secured database at ENOC which calculates all parameters associated with the customer account.
All 112 stations from the ENOC and EPPCO network customers can purchase the ViP smart tag and get it installed on the vehicle, all in one location. The ViP package is currently being sold at a discounted price of Dhs 50 (or even free in some cases).
Customers can set up as many personal vehicles per account, thus enabling large families or individuals with multiple vehicles to better manage their fuel budgets. The documents required to register for ViP are: Emirates ID for residents or passport copies for visitors, and the vehicle registration card.
After you purchase the tag, you just need to set up your PIN, which you have to enter every time you want to top up your account at any of the petrol stations. The tag took no more than 5 minutes to install on our Nissan Patrol with adhesive, and a “Super” sticker was stuck under the fuel cap to let the attendant know what grade fuel to fill. So the idea is the customer just says “VIP” when he rolls into a station, but from our personal experience, we recommend future users to say “Super” or “Special” as well, as once the attendant just started pumping in RON 95 petrol, even though we had the Super sticker attached. Years later, the tag has collected a lot of crud, but it still works.
After every transaction, customers will receive an SMS and an email with the amount deducted and the remaining balance in their accounts. In addition, registered customers will have access to a dedicated portal where customers can log in to access their information in real time and manage fuel budgets, as well as top-up their accounts.
Registering our online account was a bit confusing since we did not receive a username and password in our email upon registration. We ended up registering our account by clicking “Forgot password?” and following the steps to reset it. We were able to top up with a credit card which we found more convenient than lining up at the ENOC or Eppco counter to top up your account, although as the years have gone by, we’ve mostly forgotten to top it up and just pay cash at the pumps. There’s only so many things you can keep track of — Salik, Etisalat bills, DEWA bills, etc. — and it would’ve gone a long way if we could just top this up through our online banking account when we sit down to do our bills.
At the last Dubai Shopping Festival, they were practically giving them away when you bought raffle tickets for the daily draw (coincidentally to win Nissan Patrols). It was worth picking up then, and it’s still a great way to track your family fuel bills rather than keeping manual records. Since then, they’ve also introduced an ENOCPay app for contactless mobile payments using your phone, and it stores your credit card information and keeps records as well. It’s frankly a bit odd that none of the other petrol retailers have innovated similar systems yet, so again it’s inconvenient to be restricted to one petrol brand.