The transport sector needs to embrace and adapt the cashless society, just like has happened with retail. Travellers want the same simplicity and efficiency they find in shops and on the web when travelling; expecting integrated, safe and secure ways to pay for any service. But payment in the transportation sector is not as easy to deploy as in retail businesses, as it requires a combination of very specific regulations and requirements.
Such solutions need to meet the transport industry's requirements for speed and durability, as well as the most stringent payment security standards. The other complexity with transport payments is that the solutions require partnership between several companies: payment experts such as Ingenico, ticketing platform providers and banks, for example. Our strategy is to bring the best of our payment expertise to ticketing platform providers and transport authorities in order to combine the best of all worlds.
For Ingenico Enterprise Retail, part of the Ingenico Group, transport and smart mobility are seen as high potential verticals across hardware and transaction management. The UK, delivering the first worldwide implementation of an Open Payment platform by Transport for London, along with one of the largest contactless usage schemes in Europe, is definitely of interest to us.
Ingenico takes pride in providing solutions that help public transport players both improve the consumer experience and create operator efficiencies. It's OP2GO open payment solution, for example, which integrates with all ticketing platforms, is comprised of secure contactless readers supporting both closed- and open-loop cards, inspection devices, a payment gateway and acquiring services.
Open payment technology is already changing the way we travel by swapping paper-based tickets for NFC- (near-field communication) enabled devices such as bank cards and mobile phones. No pre-registration is required – travellers just tap the validator to enter and exit, then the system automatically calculates the best-value ticket for them at the end of their journey, whether it be a single trip, day pass or multi-day card.
In parallel to the deployment of Open Payments, the next stages of technological innovation will be the implementation of real Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for public transport. The first MaaS pilots deployed in Europe – such as Whim in Birmingham – outlined what may be possible for the future of transportation and smart mobility, combining proximity (personal) and ePayment acceptance for all modes of transportation, making it easy and frictionless for people to get from front doors to end destinations (public transportation, shared cycles or scooter, shared car, parking, EV charging). Thanks to the experience and expertise of Ingenico in the complex sub-markets of transportation, we are very well placed to address these developments, being able to implement technical and sales cooperation with transport solution providers, banks and payment schemes.
Ingenico is working with several organisations, alliances and consultants on the transformation from Open Payments to MaaS, as well as exploring (and possibly financing) new payment futures. These include innovations such as voice commerce for mobile ticketing, mobile on-boarding for enrolment process automation, AI, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and 'tap and connect' for loyalty programmes.
This market is essentially a nascent market and we see a lot of technology and payment companies in play. But as payment is complex, and such projects require an omnichannel approach, large players like Ingenico are the only organisations to be able to deploy such complex offers at a global level. Transport authorities are looking for organisations that can support this complexity, and manage the attached risks. But naturally, there is also plenty of opportunity for start-up companies that have the agility to assist large players with innovative approaches.
Ingenico expertise is currently supporting several mass transit systems in Europe, Asia and North America. With these case studies, the cities are initially deploying Open Payment 'Fixed Fare' solutions before migrating their platforms to solutions that manage variable fares. Risks need to be 'measured' by cities to be sure that firstly, the system is well adopted by users and secondly, the solution is robust enough to support large volumes of trips/transactions. For this reason, most Open Payment and MaaS projects require between 18 to 24 months to be deployed.
Public authorities have a vital role to play. Definitely, the relationship with the customer in an ideal MaaS scheme will be held by the city, region, or local transport authority. Payment is an enabler, but will never be the prime supplier. The preferred role for public authorities is to remain 'coordinators' of these new ecosystems, as they remain the core 'customer' for ticketing platforms / MaaS providers (working with payment experts and acquirers/bankers).
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