How COVID-19 is Impacting Payments in the Transit Payments Industry

In the last few weeks, we have discussed how COVID-19 is impacting payments in the vending and mobile payments industries. Now, we will look at how the global pandemic has affected payments in the transit industry.

The transit industry’s evolution is constantly updating based on the needs of passengers. Contactless technologies were introduced and adopted into the transportation industry years ago with different closed loop payment systems across the world. This has expanded and evolved to where students are now able to use their student ID cards for transportation payments and bus riders are able to use their bus cards for exchanges at train stations. However, the arrival of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has created a demand for transit payments to update their technologies even further by accepting contactless EMV payments directly from commuter’s contactless bank cards and mobile wallets.  With this new ability to make contactless payments with their bank cards and mobile phones, commuters can avoid touching payment terminals and reduce the amount of cards and cash that they need to handle, reducing the amount of potentially contaminated surfaces that they touch.

Latin America Advancements

As we discussed in our Latin America Transit Adopts EMV Contactless Payments Amid COVID-19 Pandemic blog, Latin America has made evolutionary changes towards their bus validator technologies. Ticket integrators across Latin America are aiming to reduce the use of cash and metro cards in the transportation system by deploying new bus validators with contactless EMV technologies. This decreases cost and increases efficiency by eliminating metro cards as middlemen and allowing passengers to use their EMV bank cards directly. In addition, the ability to pay for fares with credit cards and mobile phones eliminates the need to recharge a metro card and reduces the number of cards that commuters need to handle. These payment updates are necessary for the evolving needs of the public because maintaining health and safety is paramount in uncertain times like these.

Delays in America

America has lagged behind in the adoption of contactless technology as a whole, but the arrival of COVID-19 has propelled America to make innovative changes to the way payments are accepted. The retail and mobile industries have seen the largest pushes, with many businesses acquiring contactless and mobile solutions to meet the demand that COVID-19 has caused. However, while the pandemic has kickstarted the adoption of contactless payments, it has also caused further delays.

New York’s MTA had begun installing their new One Metro New York (OMNY) system to allow direct, contactless payments from bank cards and mobile wallets, as well as the ability to combine fare payments and mobile ticketing across subways, buses, and commuter rails. This is a necessary update for a high-risk city like New York where the health and safety of commuters is in constant danger of infection from contaminated transportation vehicles.  Unfortunately, MTA’s installation of the OMNY system has been delayed until December due to concerns that workers may become infected by COVID-19.  

The Necessity of Contactless

While other industries don’t necessarily have to adopt contactless technology to survive virus spread, the opposite is true for the transportation industry. People have become weary of public transportation and there has been a 21% increase in car purchases, while over 60% of people who previously commuted are now using private transportation instead. People are distrustful of encountering public transportation surfaces and other passengers who maybe infected while traveling. As a result, that transit industry is making the necessary changes to increase safety and sanitation to gain commuter’s trust again and earn back the travelers they have lost.       

The transit industry has had multiple growths and setbacks during the rise of COVID-19. As restrictions are lifted and more commuters begin to navigate public transportation once again, we can only wait to see what new payment technologies and innovations are introduced into the transit industry.

To learn more about ID TECH’s transit solutions, click here.


ID TECH is a leading global payment peripheral provider with expertise in magnetic stripe, EMV contact, EMV contactless, and OEM customization solutions. We have a strong foundation and continued success rooted in card readers and are always expanding our product offering to provide innovative solutions for the ever-evolving payments industries. Payment Security is an integral part of our product offering, and ID TECH as a company prides itself at being at the forefront of payment security in our design, development, manufacturing, and sales processes.

To learn more about ID TECH and our dedication to achieving payment security, please visit our about page.

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