Health and personal well being worries have changed the mindset of the traveling public. Tap and pay technology helps alleviate concerns among passengers who regard using public transport as a health risk. VISA has responded with the roll out of contactless payment option on public transportation across 500 cities.
The recent announcement from VISA that it has rolled out contactless payments for public transportation across 500 cities worldwide is a sensible response to a behavioral change driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Europe was quicker to grasp the time-saving advantages and convenience of using contactless, the United States in particular was slower to adopt the benefits, citing security breaches and lack of infrastructure to accept these types of payments. Mastercard North America said last year, pre-COVID, that the US is the most complex market in the world, with 50 years of legacy systems. With thousands of banks and millions of merchants, it is not surprising that the take up in contactless fell well behind many other countries.
The Great Disrupter –
Taking Public Transport is Seen as a Health Risk
However, in the midst of the world-wide pandemic, health and safety issues is now on everyone’s mind. VISA says that their statistics show that 50% of the public wants better safety measures in place to alleviate the thought that taking public transport poses a high health risk.
As with retail, the way forward in the mind’s eye of the paying traveler is to be provided with a customer journey that completes a payment transaction as safely and quickly as possible. Providing the least amount of physical contact with hardware or personnel – contactless wins, hands down.
Technology Provides Peace of Mind
Retail has an advantage with the ability to offer mPOS solutions that can move the payment transaction away from the traditional, and static, point of sale, to effectively anywhere where the customer wishes to pay. Effectively removing the other social distancing nemesis, the long queue. Solutions that pair a hand-held device, be it a computer, smartphone, or tablet with a payment device provide real upstream solutions that help create that environment of speed, efficiency, and customer well-being.
Public transportation, by enlarge does not have the luxury of space, but the introduction of tap and pay on public transport is likely now to be looked upon favorably here in the United States, as it is already, across many countries in Europe. It may not be mPOS, per se but it does put the transaction in the hands of the customer.
It Takes a Crisis
History has shown that a global crisis drives change, at speed. COVID-19 has effectively killed off cash as a currency for many applications. Customers and staff see those health risks and the industry has reacted to this change in social behavior by increasing the contactless limit, while the retail and public transportation sectors are themselves promoting the use of contactless as the preferred method of payment.
Technology is providing the lead to reflect the changed expectations of the public. Both the retail and transportation industries are having to come to terms with the ‘new normal’ situation that no one could have possibly imagined, just six months ago. Contactless payments are helping answer that challenge by providing a solution that will encourage passengers back to mass transit systems and shoppers back into the stores. “Contactless payments have gone from nice-to-have for speed and convenience, to a must-have for safety reasons,” says Visa.