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Convenience & Carwash Canada

Car Wash Owners Cash In with Mobile Payments

By David Dougherty

Venmo a friend for tickets to the game. Use Apple Pay to buy snacks for a road trip. Even if you haven’t scanned your phone for a morning coffee, there’s a strong chance you’ve used a mobile wallet. “Mobile wallet” simply means that you’re carrying some sort of payment information digitally, instead of physically.

Two types of mobile payment options have grown at a rapid rate. In fact, a recent report by the United Nations predicts that mobile payments will overtake credit cards by 2019. But one thing is for certain. Mobile payments show no signs of slowing down, especially in the car wash industry.

pdq drive clean app

Types of Mobile Payments

There are two types of mobile payments, both of which are popular with car wash owners.

The first is true mobile payments with NFC technology. NFC stands for near-field communications and allows data to be read by compatible machines without contact. This technology is behind mobile payment solutions like Apply Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay, and eliminates the need to swipe or insert a physical credit card.

The second type of mobile car wash payments is through a specialized app, such as PDQ’s Drive Clean app. The app allows you to purchase and redeem car washes directly through your phone. Connected with the car wash’s terminal by Bluetooth, there’s no need for customers to even roll down their window.

While there are clear customer benefits with mobile payments, there are plenty of incentives for car wash owners as well.

PDQ Car Wash Owner

How Mobile Payments Benefit Car Wash Owners

The biggest benefit of mobile payments is that it accelerates throughput. Credit card processing takes much longer than a tap and pay solution. The quicker a car gets through, the quicker the next customer can enter. Mobile payments help to optimize throughput at any car wash.

And even quicker than an EMV processing charge, an in-app purchase allows customers to preload desired washes on their phone. Then once they’re at the terminal, all they have to do is select their wash and drive through, saving significant time and increasing throughput. Thanks to the Bluetooth feature there’s no need to even open a window, which is ideal for cold Canadian conditions.

In addition to purchasing car washes, apps like Drive Clean allow customers to earn loyalty reward points towards free washes and other promotions. They can also find the nearest local car wash with the “Find a Wash” feature. The program also tracks and reports on user activity and buying habits, while keeping all information safe and secure.

In this digital age, security is a large concern of consumers across the globe. While credit card information can be stolen and used for fraudulent charges, solutions like Apple Pay store and encrypt credit card information. Security checkpoints are established to prevent unauthorized charges.

The efficiency and convenience that mobile payments provide customers doesn’t go unnoticed. The seamless experience builds customer loyalty and a positive reputation across the communities you serve.

PDQ Tandem Surfline

Mobile is the Future of Car Wash Purchasing

Business Insider recently reported that while just 16% of the general population had used a mobile wallet, 35% of Millennials have already adopted the technology. That’s a significant jump and it will only increase as young Millennials and Generation Z gain spending power.

Canadian e-commerce company Shopify reported that mobile payments are the most preferred payment options among Millennials, citing that 98 percent of Millennials use a smartphone. The devices have become an integral part of their daily lives and mobile payments add another level of convenience.

Mobile payments are the future of the car wash industry and will play a key role in your future success.

About the Author

David Dougherty is the senior product manager for in-bay automatics at PDQ Manufacturing Inc. in De Pere, Wisconsin. PDQ Manufacturing is recognized as the technological leader in vehicle wash systems, providing superior quality, outstanding support and products that contribute to its customers’ profitability. For more information, visit or call (800) 227-3373. David can be reached at