Liverpool in UK First for Bus Bankcard Payments

Liverpool in UK First for Bus Bankcard Payments

Bus passengers in Liverpool are to be the first in the UK to be able to use a bank card to make onboard payment for travel, Stagecoach, MasterCard and The Royal Bank of Scotland announced today (20 October 2008).

A one-year trial will see the major roll-out of the technology in the second quarter of 2009 on around 200 Stagecoach buses in Merseyside, allowing passengers to make fast, convenient and safe payments simply by tapping their card on a dedicated reader.

MasterCard PayPass and Maestro PayPass allows holders to make payments under the value of £10 and will be a direct alternative to cash, saving customers fumbling for cumbersome coins or waiting for change. Customers will still be given a bus ticket as proof of purchase.

It is the first ever use of contactless bank card payments on public transport in the UK and the first significant extension of the “Tap & Go” way to pay outside London for members of the general public.

Tom Wileman, Regional Director, Stagecoach Merseyside, said: “This new state-of-the-art system will make bus travel faster and more convenient for thousands of people in Liverpool every day and help attract car users to more sustainable public transport.

“Penny Lane was made famous by Liverpool’s favourite sons, The Beatles, but today it takes on a whole new significance. Now people using the 200 Stagecoach buses on 11 different routes passing that landmark location will no longer need to fumble around for cash, but to simply tap their PayPass debit or credit card to travel across the city. The bus really is the greener and smarter way to travel.”

Cardholders will also be able to use the PayPass functionality in several shopping locations across Liverpool to make small value payments quickly.

The PayPass feature can also be used elsewhere in the UK or overseas, anywhere MasterCard PayPass or Maestro PayPass cards are accepted. The cards can be used to make purchases in the traditional manner at all other locations that accept MasterCard or Maestro.

Leigh Clapham, General Manager, Developed Markets, MasterCard Europe, said: “MasterCard is the global leader in contactless payments. Together with RBS, we are combining that experience and market innovation to extend ‘Tap & Go’ payments to people in the UK outside London.

“Through our major successes in transit programmes from New York to Taiwan, we understand that consumers demand fast payment of transport fares to speed up their journey while being given the ability to select from all fare options available.

“By working closely with Stagecoach, who are equally passionate about making customers’ lives easier, we can help Liverpool to become the UK’s newest contactless city next year.”

Ron Kalifa, Managing Director, Global Merchant Services and Commercial Cards, RBS, said: “RBS has been at the forefront of the move to contactless payments. It was an RBS card that made the UK’s first contactless payment in McDonald’s during August last year. This year we launched a PayPass pilot to offer contactless payments in a number of London black cabs. Now we are looking to build on the investment already made to take transport applications one step further.”

Maestro-branded debit cards and MasterCard-branded credit cards will be reissued by major financial institutions with the addition of the state-of-the-art, secure contactless payments feature from the first quarter of 2009, ahead of the programme going live in the second quarter next year.

PayPass continues to gain strong momentum worldwide. As of Q2 2008, there are nearly 37 million PayPass cards and devices in use at more than 122,000 merchant locations worldwide. There are a number of PayPass trials and rollouts currently underway in 24 countries.

RBS WorldPay and MasterCard will open a Contactless Café to celebrate the launch of ‘Tap & Go’ payments in Liverpool and showcase the technology’s benefits to consumers and local retailers. The Café – open for one day only – will be located in Williamson Square on Tuesday 27th October 2009, from 8:00am.

Tom Harrison

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