Commuters in New York and Los Angeles can use their Visa card to pay for bus, subway and train fares. In New York, Visa is allowing riders to pay using Visa payWave-enabled cards and mobile phones, while commuters in Los Angeles can use a special Visa prepaid card to ride the LA metro system.
Visa say that the programs in New York and Los Angeles are part of their long-term strategy of extending the speed, security and convenience of Visa acceptance to new locations. As part of this strategy, Visa has also brought payment services to commuters in the world’s most populous areas, including Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore, London and Paris.
“Transit agencies the world over have one primary goal – to get their customers to where they need to go quickly and efficiently. What transit agencies and riders recognize is that using Visa on buses, subways and trains is the logical evolution in terms of improved speed, security and convenience,” said Jim McCarthy, global head of product, Visa Inc. “For commuters, paying with Visa means no more fumbling for change or worrying about lost transit cards. For transit authorities, accepting Visa means better customer service, integrated collections and the potential for increased ridership.”
The pilot program in New York uses Visa payWave technology, which is based on a small electronic chip embedded in a mobile phone or payment card that communicates securely with contactless readers at the fare gate and on the bus. Transit riders pay by simply holding their Visa payWave-enabled mobile phone or card near the designated reader at the fare gate. The program in Los Angeles is exclusive to Visa and started September 15, 2010 and is a system wide commercial implementation available to all riders of the LA Metro system. The TAPReadyCARD combines Visa prepaid functionality with the LA Metro’s TAP (Transit Access Pass) proprietary transit application on a single card.
As part of the company’s ongoing effort to add ever greater utility to its core credit, debit and prepaid payment products, Visa is working closely to integrate its electronic payments network, VisaNet, with mass transit fare collection systems.
New York / New Jersey
Visa payWave, Visa’s contactless payment application, is now accepted as part of a pilot payment program underway with New York City Transit, NJ TRANSIT and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
- As part of Visa’s participation in the NY transit program, Visa is testing both payment cards and popular smart phones enabled with Visa payWave. The mobile technology, which was developed by DeviceFidelity, transforms many smart phones with a microSD slot into a Visa payment device.
- The NYC transit trial covers 28 stops along the Lexington subway line in Manhattan, enabling busy commuters to pay with a wave of their mobile phone or card enabled with Visa payWave technology.
- Visa payWave is also accepted at most PATH rail stations in New York and New Jersey, on several MTA bus lines in New York City, on select NJ TRANSIT bus routes in northern New Jersey and at Newark Liberty AirTrain Station in New Jersey.
- In addition to Visa payWave-enabled credit, debit, prepaid cards and mobile phones, a Visa payWave-enabled commuter benefits card will be accepted at the fare gate and on the bus. The TransitChek QuickPay© Card, a Visa prepaid card, enables participants to pay fares using funds in their tax-advantaged flexible spending accounts.
- In addition to subway, trains and buses, more than 10,000 New York City cabs have already installed state-of-the-art Visa payWave terminals enabling tourists and locals to pay by simply waving their phone or card in front of terminals found in the back seat of the cab.
Earlier this month, Visa, the LA Metro system and Ready Credit Corporation started a system wide commercial deployment offering riders a TAP ReadyCARD Visa Prepaid Card that incorporates the transit system’s “TAP” fare application. These dual-use, Visa prepaid cards will let riders pay their fares and purchase fare products using their Visa account, while also allowing cardholders to make purchases anywhere Visa debit is accepted.
Two types of cards will be available to LA Metro transit riders:
- Ride, pay and reload cards – sold through automated ReadySTATIONTM kiosks within the LA Metro system and at select retailers. These cards will be active and ready to use immediately for both transit fares and Visa purchases everywhere Visa debit is accepted. Riders will be able to add up to $500 in value at the kiosks.
- Ride, pay, reload and ATM cash access cards – these are personalized cards, which are ordered online or over the phone. Beyond a larger value limit, the personalized cards have the added feature of a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for obtaining cash at ATMs. It will also function as a standard Visa prepaid card for purchases outside the transit system wherever Visa is accepted. In addition, cardholders will be eligible for free direct deposit of their paychecks directly to the Visa prepaid card account, providing added convenience and security over payment alternatives like checks and cash, to riders currently without traditional banking relationships.
“Combining LA Metro’s TAP with a ReadyCredit Visa prepaid card gives riders secure and convenient access to Metro’s transit services and the ability to make payments at Visa-accepting merchants,” said Jane Matsumoto, Deputy Executive Officer Regional TAP Program and Services, LA Metro. “This program also delivers enhanced financial services for underbanked TAP riders, enabling them to conveniently and securely access funds, as well as conduct everyday transactions like reserving a hotel room, paying bills online and shopping on the Internet – which can’t be done with cash.”
Visa Transit Around the World
In addition to the programs in New York and Los Angeles, Visa recently announced the expansion of some of its global transit initiatives:
- Kuala Lumpur: From August 2010, Express Rail Link (ERL) accepts all domestic and international Visa payWave cards for payment on the express train link from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to the city center. Malaysia was the first country in the world to experience the convenience and security of EMV-based contactless payment and the KLIA Express Rail Link is the first mass transit system in Asia Pacific to accept Visa payWave cards.
- Singapore: In August 2010, Visa launched the Youth Olympic Games Visa Prepaid card that combines general purpose payment, prepaid contactless transit and event access. The card, launched in conjunction with the Inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, allows cardholders to make purchase at Visa merchants, and payment on Singapore’s public transportation system. As part of Visa’s partnership with the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee, DBS Bank and EZ-Link, Youth Olympic Game attendees were able to use the card as a ticket for entry to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
- Paris: In May 2010, Visa, in collaboration with the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), the public transport operator in Paris and its surroundings, launched a pilot to demonstrate that Visa payWave acceptance at a Paris metro fare gate is technically feasible.
- Istanbul: Visa Europe and DenizBank in Turkey introduced Visa payWave acceptance at Istanbul ferry gates in partnership with IDO (Istanbul’s Fast Ferries Co. Inc). Now, Visa payWave cardholders from Turkey or abroad can simply wave standard Visa payWave card over the gate reader and pay for their journey, just like any other Visa payWave transaction. DenizBank also launched a special co-branded IDO Sea Miles card that offers reward miles that can be redeemed for free ferry travel.
- London: A multifunctional Barclaycard Visa credit card features Visa payWave for payment and a contactless Oyster smartcard application enabling cardholders to use the same card to make low-value purchases and to travel throughout London on the public transport network. Visa Europe is also actively collaborating with Transport for London to define how Visa payWave cards might be accepted directly at the fare gate in the London transport network.
- ‘Open-fare’ technology not embraced elsewhere (theglobeandmail.com)
- Long Live the Unlimited MetroCard? (cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com)