The payments urgency of mass transit: A case for contactless cards

The infrastructure for the U.S. mass transit collections systems are, in many cases, quite old and dated. The complexity in upgrading these systems, and defining interoperability among all the participants, has been complex. Interoperability among the parties is critical to gain adoption. The high cost of investment and approval processes to upgrade fare collection have been challenging, because of the investment required and the consideration of the useful value of new systems, versus continued innovation with payments.

Transit systems are no longer just commuter lines, but buses, parking meters, vending machines, point of sale (POS) devices at transit locations, scooters and bike rentals, among others.

The coordination of all parties to prepare for this change has included transit authorities, municipalities, financial institutions and technology providers, bringing together all vested parties to ensure interoperability. These types of collaborative efforts take time. Still, contactless cards are creating quite a buzz around mass transit, as they have the potential to make paying faster and easier. The idea is that commuters will no longer have to enter their chip card and wait for processing at times when they are likely in a hurry; with contactless cards, all they have to do is tap and go.


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