Mastercard: Contactless cards are becoming public transport tickets, saving passengers’ time and municipal money

By 7 September 2018 September 13th, 2018 Transportation, Energy & Environment

Public transportation networks in Polish cities are gradually evolving, but it’s not all about lowering the emission rates. It is also about digital solutions and seamless payments that make passenger flows smooth. With the help of Mastercard, fintech-era services and increasingly popular cashless payments have finally entered the world of public transport fares in Poland.

Mastercard’s approach takes advantage of the technology which has made an astounding career in the last decade – contactless payment cards. With already over 80% of Mastercard transactions in Poland made this way, contactless has become ubiquitous in every-day shopping. Soon, travel cards and cardboard tickets may become a relic of the past as well. According to Mastercard, our contactless cards are already perfectly capable of becoming a ticket themselves, and enable us to pay-as-we-go directly at a validator with a contactless terminal.

Polish people are already used to and appreciate contactless payments for their speed, convenience, and security. Moreover, the vast majority of payment cards in Poland are already equipped with contactless functionalities, and Poland is one of the European and global leaders in terms of contactless technology’s popularity. If we’re already carrying a payment card in our wallet, it may just as well serve as a public transportation ticket – states Kamila Kaliszyk, Head of Market Development at the Polish branch of Mastercard Europe.

MPK-Łódź, Mennica Polska, and Mastercard have been testing the open-loop solution in Łódź’s no 10 Tram Line for a year now, and the passengers’ enthusiasm for the pilot has driven MPK-Łódź to continue testing the solution on a different route. The city got to try out the most advanced version of the system thus far. Apart from using payment cards in place of traditional cardboard tickets, it also adjusts the price of each trip according to its length. In order to determine the final price of a ticket, each passenger needs to tap their payment card on a terminal twice  immediately after entering the vehicle, and right before their final stop.

Given the initial success in Łódź, Mastercard decided to expand their testing grounds, and implement a similar system in Wrocław this Spring. Once again, the company has cooperated with Mennica Polska.The result? 2.8 million electronic tickets sold during the 2 months following the program’s launch, with merely 1.4 million cardboard ones sold in vehicles throughout in the same period. The data published by Wrocław’s administration not only shows a clear enthusiasm for the new system over traditional cardboard tickets, but also suggests that the innovation contributes to reducing the percentages of passengers traveling without a valid ticket.

Apart from contactless technology, mobile payment solutions are becoming increasingly popular as well. Mobile apps such as mPay or SkyCash offer a possibility to buy a ticket anytime, even without a kiosk or a ticket vending machine nearby. MPK Wrocław has also enabled its passengers to pay online via its new mobile app paired with Masterpass digital wallet. It allows one to save and securely store a payment card’s data in an app so that entering the card number during every subsequent transaction is no longer necessary. Such mobile solutions make buying a ticket easier than ever, giving passengers no excuse when it comes to paying for a ride.

Apart from collecting more funds from passengers, cities implementing open-loop solutions also count on lowering the costs consumed by their sales channels. When a passenger’s payment card becomes a ticket, it does not to be printed, stored nor physically delivered to a point of sale, which normally charges a commission. London, which implemented an open-loop solution in cooperation with Mastercard back in 2014, has seen its sales costs drop from 14% to 9% of their revenues.

With the warm welcome given to the technology thus far, Mastercard is currently preparing to support similar Open Payment Transit Systems in a few other Polish cities. To stay in the loop of the newest mobility solutions, make sure to join us in Katowice for the upcoming Impact mobility rEVolution’18 on September 13th and 14th! With Mastercard as our Partner, the event will be the place to find out more about their newest projects. See you there!