Contact-free public transport (Part 2)

photo of a bus

This is the second of three blogs about technologies to support contact-free use of public transport.

Public transport operators have been making great efforts to make public transport safe during the pandemic. TfL recently launched a new app that makes it easier for passengers to plan their travel and avoid routes where they might come close to large numbers of people. There are claims that the rate of uptake of contactless by passengers has increased significantly since the pandemic and the demand for contact-free transactions on public transport. Visa recently offered a graph relating to global public transport contactless transactions. However, it is not clear what the actual contactless usage is since they are hidden behind month-on-month percentage increases which look enormous when the previous months had fallen off the proverbial cliff.

HCE moves on

In payments, as in so many other fields, Kazakhstan is a beacon to the nations. I notice, for example. that they have recently launched a new tap and pay service that uses host card emulation, or HCE as it is known to us afficionados.

Customers of Kazkommertsbank (KKB) in Kazakhstan can now make host card emulation (HCE) based NFC mobile payments using a new service launched in partnership with Visa.

From Kazakhstan gets HCE payments • NFC World+

An advanced nation. In fact, as I wrote a decade ago…

So here is a picture for Borat to take with him next time he visits America. It’s an EMV terminal.

From Cultural learnings of Kazakhstan for make benefit glorious nation of America

For those of you who think that HCE is old news, I have to tell that you my colleagues at Consult Hyperion have been working on wide variety of HCE products and services and not only for customers in the financial services sector, but also in retail, ticketing and other fields. The ability to conduct transactions with chip and PIN levels of security via mobile devices is useful in many different applications and more and more service providers are taking advantage of it to deliver a better service to card customers. Take a look at what American Express are doing with it now, for example, or what Barclaycard launched earlier in the year. Or, for that matter, what Barclays announced today about using their Android app to withdraw cash from their new contactless ATMs.

What’s more, of course, is that now that the industry is building expertise and obtaining feedback from a number of different operational services in different countries it is a good time to survey the landscape again and have a look at where to go next. I’m very keen to see how it will develop, especially beyond the “traditional” NFC channel. HCE over Bluetooth looks like pretty interesting avenue to explore as well! Anyway, all of this is why I was happy to accept an invitation to chair the HCE Summit in Amsterdam on 24th November and I’ll look forward to seeing you all there at the end of the week.


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