pbc_headers 2021 blog.png
  • Petra Geiger

What is RFID and how is it used to pay by text?

RFID, which is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification technology, is a relatively simple and universally recognized way to capture data – kind of like barcoding. RFID tags, like those used in toll transponders (take your E-ZPass tag as an example), use a small electronic chip surrounded by an antenna that can then be read from a distance (up to 60 feet) by a scanner.


Leveraging radio frequency waves to transfer data has been around for a long time, in fact it was used to identify airplanes in World War II (it was kind of important to know who was an enemy or ally!) Over time the cost has come down significantly and improvements have been made such that relatively inexpensive systems can be deployed easily.


That’s where PayByCar comes in. Using simple RFID technology, coupled with sms technology (the text messaging we all know, and love), PayByCar retailers can install a scanner (typically all you need is a 125V grounded outlet and a vantage point) that reads RFID tags as vehicles arrive at the location. The RFID tag can be an existing toll transponder like E-ZPass or a SmartSticker issued by PayByCar. Once properly installed on the windshield, these RFID stickers act much like a toll transponder, turning virtually any car (or bike for that matter), no matter its age into a connected vehicle.

RFID consists of two parts – an antenna for transmitting and receiving signals, and an RFID chip (or integrated circuit, IC) which stores the tag’s ID and other information.

But, does PayByCar ensure transactions are secure? Yes! All of our systems encrypt data to the highest industry standard, but once the RFID tag is scanned, the system grabs your phone number and texts you a confirmation message. This double authentication is critical to the process and adds an extra layer of security. When you drive into a participating gas station for instance, your tag is read, and then you get a text welcoming you and asking what pump you would like to activate. Once you reply, PayByCar confirms it’s you, unlocks the pump, and you can begin fueling – eliminating touch by 84%.


RFID technology is how PayByCar is making on-the-go payments safer and easier today, enabling anyone with a toll transponder or SmartSticker to pay-by-text. Gas, car wash, drive thru and grocery pick-up all paid for quickly from inside your car.