Visa is taking contactless travel payments global

Visa is looking to make travelling in new cities easier than ever with the launch of a new payments system for travel networks around the world.

The company has today launched Visa Global Transit Solutions, which will allow mass transit systems to incorporate contactless payment readers at fare gates or on buses to allow passengers to quickly pay with applicable credit and debit cards.

The system looks to take the experience Visa has learnt supporting the TfL system in London, where its customers can tap in and out using their Visa card to pay for their journey.

“Visa is the best way to pay and be paid everywhere and on any device.  We want to make the transportation experience faster, easier and more secure whether someone is traveling by car, flying on holiday or taking public transportation to work,” said Michael Lemberger, head of products at Visa in Europe. 

“Visa played an important role in partnering with Transport for London (TfL).  We are applying the expertise which has led to more than one billion Visa contactless journeys on TfL to help mass transit operators around the world move away from cash and tickets to contactless payments on buses and trains.”

“We work hard to make public transport in London easy for everyone and developing contactless ticketing has been a huge part of this,” said Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL. 

“More than 40 per cent of pay-as-you-go journeys are now made using contactless cards or mobile devices and we have already seen cards from more than 100 countries around the world using our system. To get to this point, a lot of things needed to change about how the payment industry worked, including the creation of new payment rules. Without our close partnership, we would not have seen the huge benefits to customers that contactless ticketing has already delivered in London.”

Going forward, a London-based team of Visa experts will now be available for consulting on how best to implement contactless payments systems in cities around the world, providing guidance and hands-on assistance alongside dedicated regional specialists.

Visa has also created a new Mass Transit Transaction Model, which it says it able to offer contactless payments management regardless of the operator's size or far structure. The system allows the city or transit operators to offer a range of flexible fares, including fixed fares, distance- and time-based fares, and multi-modal fares, as well as features like fare capping, concessions, and delay refunds, without the need for extra technology or infrastructure.

The company is now keen to extend the reach of contactless payments across the world, having recently released research which noted that such technology has the potential to significantly decrease costs associated with transit and toll systems maintained by municipal governments.