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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Visa to digitalize mass transit

Visa Inc. unveiled on Nov. 13, 2013, Visa Global Transit Solutions, a new service designed to create a frictionless mass transit experience. Program organizers expect the service to simplify debit, credit and prepaid acceptance at turnstiles and inside bus readers. Technology companies and transit operators saw live demos this week in London; additional events are planned for New York, as well as for locations in Dubai and Singapore, Visa representatives stated.

Michael Lemberger, Head of Products at Visa Europe, said Visa is working with Transport for London (TfL) to improve public and private transportation. The companies plan to leverage worldwide contactless payments, which account for 40 percent of Europe's in-store payments. "We want to make the transportation experience faster, easier and more secure whether someone is traveling by car, flying on holiday or taking public transportation to work," he said. The effort appears to be working: TfL has logged more than 1 billion Visa contactless transactions and expects to see more electronic payments across all transportation venues in the future, Visa noted.

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said pay-as-you-go passengers from more than 100 countries use mobile devices and contactless cards on London's transit systems. Their transactions comprise 40 percent of overall mass transit volumes. "To get to this point, a lot of things needed to change about how the payment industry worked, including the creation of new payment rules," he stated. "Without our close partnership, we would not have seen the huge benefits to customers that contactless ticketing has already delivered in London."

Anti-fraud, back-office capabilities

Additional value-added services, including fraud management and back-office tools, will be added to Visa's Mass Transit Transaction framework, Visa representatives stated. Built to manage multiple types of payments and transportation methods, the platform contains the following attributes:

  • Contactless payment support: The platform accepts contactless payments for all sizes and types of transit, which include multimode, fixed fares, distance-fares and time-based fare schemes.

  • Universal tools and standards: Visa Ready for Transit certification is a credentialing program for mass transit operators, asserting they meet Visa's security standards. Worldline and Vix Technology completed their certifications and have volunteered to help other transit operators navigate program requirements.

  • End-to-end consumer experience: Visa is building an end-to-end consumer experience at the Innovation Center in London to meet future commerce requirements in mass transportation. The company is developing new forms of payments for automobiles, air travel and other forms of mass transit. Visa invited transit operators, technology companies and fintechs to participate in the project and create new travel experiences.

  • Smart city solutions: The Cashless Cities Report, published by Visa and Roubini ThoughtLab in June 2017, revealed that transit agencies spend an average of 14.5 cents of every dollar on transit and toll collections. The study recommends replacing cash systems with digital payments to reduce mass transportation overhead.

Cashless Cities Report authors additionally noted that urban populations are expanding across the globe. They see greater growth potential in "digitally mature" cities. Bucharest recently installed contactless payment terminals in all its metro stations; other cities are adopting similar initiatives to improve efficiencies and scale, they observed. "With the pace of this digital change accelerating around the world, national and municipal governments are embracing smart technology and cashless payment solutions," the authors wrote. The report is available at usa.visa.com/dam/VCOM/global/visa-everywhere/documents/visa-cashless-cities-report.pdf . end of article

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