Chicago Transit Is on the Track to NFC Mobile Payments

by Ben Jackson 0

Chicago Transit Authority may become the first major system in the United States to offer an app that allows commuters to tap their phones at turnstiles to pay fares, according to Digiday.

In November 2015, the city launched the Ventra app, which allowed riders to buy passes or add credit for bus or subway rides, and purchase mobile tickets for commuter rail. Single-fare trips can currently be paid for through mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, and customers may also use contactless credit and debit cards of their own. While the Ventra card value can be added from within the app, the physical card is still currently needed to access transit. The city is now working on a virtual Ventra card that would operate within an NFC-capable smartphone — a shift that would allow transit riders to tap their phones before getting on trains and buses.

Other transit systems in the United States allow for fare payments from a mobile app, but they typically involved showing a conductor a ticket displayed on the mobile phone or for buying a ticket or other fare media at a vending machin

Contactless payments were done at fareboxes in Salt Lake City with the now-defunct ISIS (later Softcard) mobile wallet. New York City, Boston, and others have contactless payments at turnstiles and fareboxes, but apps have yet to follow

Overview by Ben Jackson, Director, Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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