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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

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BPCL petro card soon to have multiple uses

Poornima Mohandas

MUMBAI, May 21

BPCL plans to convert its petro cards into multi-utility cards.

The oil company was in talks with several corporates, including PSUs, to enrol them as members of its value-added service cards, said a senior BPCL official.

"We want to combine utility payments with the petro card through which the customer will be able to not only buy fuels, but also pay his electricity and telephone bills. The petro card could also serve as a driving licence and health record after the tie-ups,'' said Mr M. S. Ashok, Manager, Allied Retail Business, BPCL.

"We are in advanced stages of talks with several corporates and we expect some tie-ups shortly,'' he said.

Currently, about five per cent of BPCL's retail annual sales are through petro cards. Launched as a pilot project in Chennai in September 1999, the card now has almost 7 lakh customers in less than three years spread across 30 cities.

BPCL's owned and controlled outlets have an average of 30 per cent of sales through its petro cards.

The other oil PSUs who have launched this scheme are still in their nascent stage and nowhere near BPCL's market penetration, says an oil sector analyst.

The petro card is a pre-paid, re-usable card in-laid with a 4K microprocessor. The card is obtained with an enrolment fee of Rs 250 and can be loaded with a minimum of Rs 500, which gets used up with each transaction and has to be refurbished. The card is used not just to buy fuels and lubricants but also to make purchases from the adjoining retail stores.

Fleet owners get added advantages of a monthly information system report, tracking facilities and the cash or credit option through the Smart Fleet programme specially designed for them. Over 80,000 vehicles are enrolled into this programme. The fleet owners can fix the daily limit to be spent on fuels and the list of products that can be purchased with the card to prevent its misuse by the drivers of the vehicles.

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