The convenience of simply waving a bank card to enter the transit network is one of the main reasons why open-loop payments become so popular in major cities in the world. But it is not the only reason. What are the benefits and the challenges faced by transit authorities? Is it worth the investment?
The implementation of tap & go in the transit sector simplifies not only daily commuters’ journey, but also foreign visitors’ traveling experience. Travelers do not have to carry many cards or have the exact amount in cash for a ride, or waste time in queues to buy a ticket. Instead they benefit from increased punctuality, flexibility and fluidity at peak times.
Transition from paper-based tickets to digital and contactless ticketing solution is also attractive to transport operators. Contactless fare collection systems reduce operational costs, open the door to new customers on the network, minimize fraud attempts and improve transport services quality.
How it works
Open-loop payment infrastructure is based on EMV® contactless technology, offering passengers the ability to tap their cards as in any retail store, or use their transit cards, smartphone or other contactless payment capable form factors alike at automatic gates.
The first challenge for cities is to offer a convenient and discontinued public transport service, easy to use, fast and reliable. It must support a large number of passengers boarding at the same time and embed particular features such as :
- ODA (Offline Data Authentication) – using fast Dynamic Data Authentication allow the terminal to rapidly identify the card as being unaltered and accepted for travel
- Deferred authorization – transit merchants have the ability to send authorizations online at deferred time (at the end of the travel period)
- Fare calculation – travel fare is calculated at the back office system according the taps of a card accumulated over the travel period.
The main critical issue is to authenticate a card in milliseconds, to avoid any slowdown in the flow, to minimize fraud, and then be able to adequately charge the amount for the trip done. The major payment schemes have released best practices and specific requirements for contactless payments in the transit sector, that transport authorities and their technology partners must follow to securely and compliantly implement open-loop systems.
It is crucial for transport authorities to keep travelers’ data protected from fraud at all times during their trips on the transport network, starting at the point of entry, the contactless readers, up till the acquirer system where the transaction is completed.
Therefore enhancing security layers with PCI Standard Security requirements allow transit operators to ensure cardholder data is kept safe during the whole transaction process on their network, and add security barriers to fight fraud.
Moreover, transit merchants must rely on a robust and secure back office to safely and seamlessly store data, process transactions, track terminal issues, remotely maintain and update each terminal on the network.
One single payment technology partner for all your needs
Alcinéo has been working with stakeholders operating in the transit sector for more than a decade, supporting companies involved in the development of smart ticketing solutions at the gates or turnstiles, unattended payment kiosks and terminals, parking meters or next generation validators.
We help them to overcome the hurdles during the design, development and through certification process of their products with EMV, contactless payment schemes and PCI, and provide a bespoke support after the deployment. Our complete suite of contactless kernels has been designed to comply with the transit speed threshold and security constraints and have already been implemented into terminals operating in many transit systems worldwide.
The modular approach of our PCI PTS logical package allows them to build the most innovative solutions while complying with the latest PCI security requirements to securely process and store sensitive data.
Additionally, our Terminal Management System solution allows our customers to seamlessly manage their terminal fleet easily and remotely : remote control of terminals, real-time monitoring, firmware or application update capability, among other modular functionalities.
Do not hesitate to contact us to have more information on our dedicated solutions for contactless payments in transit, at : firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your Alcinéo representative.