Saturday , July 20, 2019

First New York Transit, Then Everywhere Else for U.S. Contactless Push

As New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority inaugurates contactless payment for fares Friday, major card brands are intensely marketing the tap-and-pay service.

Mastercard Inc. announced its Fareback Friday program to reward cardholders for paying for their New York subway rides with a contactless Mastercard product. Consumers may be able to get a refund on their fares, up to $5.50, every Friday during June and July. The program also works with Mastercard products loaded in a contactless-enabled device, such as a smart phone.

Mastercard also says consumers using contactless cards on the subway or at contactless-accepting merchants are eligible for Priceless Surprises, which include unique entertainment, sports, and food experiences in New York City. For example, in the 10001 ZIP code in Manhattan, Mastercard says there are 100 convenience stores that accept contactless payments.

A consumer taps an AmEx card against a subway turnstile to pay a fare. (Image credit: American Express)

“Mastercard cardholders who tap their cards or phones at subway turnstiles will benefit from shorter wait times and a slick experience,” Linda Kirkpatrick, Mastercard executive vice president for U.S. merchants and acceptance, said in a press release. “Mastercard will be the first to offer cardholders an incentive to tap and pay for their subway ride.”

American Express Co. said beginning in July it will issue all of its U.S. consumer cards as dual-interface, meaning cardholders will be able to make contact and contactless transactions. Currently, the tap-and-pay function is available by request for all U.S. AmEx consumer cards. These cards, including those stored in a digital wallet, can be used in the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority network to pay for fares.

“Around the world, once consumers have experienced the speed, convenience, and security of contactless payments in their transit system, they are more likely to tap and pay at restaurants, retailers, and more,” said Jaromir Divilek, AmEx executive vice president, in a statement. “We are excited about the benefits contactless can bring to both our U.S. merchants and card members.”

Previously, Visa Inc. said 20 million JPMorgan Chase & Co. contactless cards can be used to pay fares on New York City subway lines and bus routes.

In related news, Transport for London, which manages the public-transit system in that city, said it will add support for Apple Inc.’s Express Transit Card function. Express Transit enables consumers with iPhone SE and newer iPhones to pay for fares without authenticating themselves using Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode once a payment card is loaded into Apple Wallet. Currently, Apple says this function is available in Beijing, Shanghai, in Japan where the Suica wallet is accepted, and in Portland, Ore., on the TriMet system.

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