Visa is working with the Los Angeles transit authority to enable train, subway and bus riders to speed through turnstiles and past fare boxes with a simple wave of their Visa payWave-enabled contactless card. At the same time, the company also announced that its European operation is collaborating with the Paris transport agency, RATP, to demonstrate that contactless acceptance at the city’s fare gates is also technically feasible.
This follows the recent announcement by MasterCard that it is also looking to work with RATP.
Both Visa initiatives are using payWave contactless technology. This means riders can eliminate the time-consuming step of paying for a ticket at a separate machine or searching for cash. The transaction is completed on Visa’s global processing network, VisaNet.
In Los Angeles, Visa is working with the LA Metro system to offer special Visa payWave cards that also incorporate the transit system’s “TAP” fare application. These dual-use, prepaid Visa 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 through the pilot:
–Ride, pay and reload cards. Sold through automated ReadySTATION kiosks within the LA Metro system, these cards will be active and ready to use immediately for both transit fares and Visa purchases. 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 with a maximum value limit of $10,000 which are ordered online or over the phone. Beyond a larger value limit the personalized cards have the added feature of PIN for obtaining cash at ATMs. It will also function as a standard Visa prepaid card for purchases outside the transit system. 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, for those riders without traditional banking relationships.
In Paris, Visa Europe is collaborating with RATP to evaluate the concept of Visa payWave acceptance directly at the fare gate. As part of this ongoing activity, the Visa exhibit at the annual CARTES conference, taking place in Paris this week, features an RATP gate set up to accept Visa payWave cards. The gate demonstrates that it is technically feasible for the existing Paris Metro gates to accept Visa payWave cards while continuing to accept Navigo, the local closed-loop card in use today. Visa’s next step is to expand the trial toward enabling Visa card acceptance at Paris fare gates.
Visa’s transit strategy is also being piloted in other cities in Europe and Asia, such as Korea, Kuala Lampur, Hong Kong, India, Turkey and the UK.