Darren Anderson, Business Development Manager, Self Service, Ingenico Enterprise Retail explores the evolution of payment options

Transit systems across the globe are having to adapt and embrace a new normal. Once upon a time physical tickets were purchased from a manned kiosk, using cash, but today’s landscape now looks very different. Technological developments alongside open payments have unlocked a whole array of new possibilities across every industry, and consumers are starting to expect more as part of their basic service.

As such, the move towards a cashless society is increasing in pace. Cards and alternative payment methods (APMs) are the norm, and the ways in which these changes are affecting transit systems are far reaching. I’ll take a look at the current payment trends, the benefits of these developments and delve into what operators need to know.

Transport payments across the globe

Tap and pay is one of the biggest evolutions in consumer payments. Bringing ease and simplicity to everyday tasks, consumers have welcomed this development to the transport journey – whether that be tapping onto the tube, borrowing a bike or hiring an e-car. In response to this trend, transit systems worldwide are adapting their infrastructure to accept bankcards as new forms of entry, including digitised versions on smartphones or internet of things (IOT) devices, so customers can simply tap in with their preferred bank card.

In app payments are also on the rise, offering customers the ability to plan ahead and remain rest assured that they have everything they need – and in one place – for every leg of their journey. Many local transport networks now have their own apps with integrated timetables, payments, and ticket download capabilities, featuring QR codes and barcodes which can then be scanned quickly and efficiently. These capabilities are being enabled by transit hardware developments – smaller more portable terminals for transport staff, and self-scanning ticketing devices are streamlining the process even further.

Ultimately, the end goal for many transport experts is Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – providing an easy and frictionless all-encompassing transport system that guides consumers through the whole journey, no matter what mode of travel they choose.

Consumer and merchant benefits

Open payments are a huge contributor to the amazing changes we’re seeing in the transport industry – it’s the technology that’s enabling paper-based tickets to be swapped for NFC-enabled devices such as bank cards and mobile phones. No pre-registration is required, travellers just tap the validator to enter and exit, then the system automatically calculates the best-value ticket for them at the end of their journey, whether it be a single trip, day pass or multi-day card.

The advantages of these new technologies are huge for both consumers and merchants alike. Firstly, they’re extremely convenient. Most consumers no longer need to wait in line at manned ticketing booths, and those that do, rarely need to be delayed by counting out the correct change. The whole process is quicker, easier, and keeps people moving to avoid unnecessary crowding in already busy areas. Improved staff mobility with portable devices also means they can cater to a greater variety of consumers, bringing the service to older, less mobile clientele, or those with disabilities.

What’s more, self-service capabilities can be a great way for merchants to reduce overheads, and staff’s energy can be directed towards more important, less tedious tasks. In fact, open payments can reduce costs by up to three times compared to paper ticketing.

There are bigger benefits out there too. In terms of MaaS, the integration of different transport services within a single mobility offering is a key issue for consumers, amplified in recent years due to increasing concerns over emissions, congestion, and a need for mobility solutions that are cost-effective and convenient. Achieving MaaS will increase public transport ridership and reducing traffic on the road, thereby enhancing the quality of life for citizens and protecting the environment too.

How to get started

Technology can be a heavily congested minefield. With so many different options and so much complicated tech-speak out there, it’s no surprise that many operators often feel alienated by the offerings, unable to decide which is right for them. The most effective way to find out what may work for your company is seek out the right expertise – a good payments professional will not only be able to guide you through the multitude of options out there, but also advise on the best systems to streamline your business operations.

Such systems belong to a new generation of unattended devices blending the best of the transport and payment worlds. Easily integrating into bus and tram validators, station gates and turnstiles, readers support all NFC devices: closed- or open-loop cards and smartphones. The Open series meets both transport industry requirements in terms of speed and durability, and the highest payment security standards (PCI-PTS v5.1).

Whether you’re interested in our technology or just want to find out more about how payments can improve the transport experience, please visit us at: www.ingenico.com/op2go

Darren Anderson is the Business Development Manager, Self Service for Ingenico Enterprise Retail. With a particular focus on Unattended Payments, Information Security, and considerable experience in Account and Project management, his career spans over 20 years. Darren is engaged across the vending industry as Ingenico develops further services to address this and other self-service payments markets.