Visa Inc. announced Monday that it has created a business unit dedicated to transit payments. The new unit debuts as public transportation agencies worldwide move away from cash and proprietary magnetic-stripe fare cards and begin accepting mobile wallets and contactless general-purpose credit and debit cards.
Dubbed Visa Global Transit Solutions, the unit will provide consulting services and a back-office technical framework for managing contactless payments regardless of a transit agency’s size or fare structure. Also, vendors in the transit fare industry will get access to an expanded Visa Ready program so that they can be certified as meeting Visa’s security standards and other requirements for contactless payments.
“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,” Michael Lemberger, head of products at Visa in Europe, said in a news release. “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.”
TfL, operator of a vast transportation system that includes the London Underground subways, has developed contactless fare technology and is licensing it to other systems, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City and its suburbs. The MTA last month approved a $539.5 million contract with lead vendor Cubic Transportation Systems, which developed the Oyster fare card for London transit, to replace its aging mag-stripe MetroCard and bring contactless and mobile payments to its subways, buses, and commuter trains. Mastercard Inc. also is a part of the project.
Visa Global Transit Solutions is based in London, but will have regional specialists around the world. The unit already is working with a number of transit agencies, Visa said.