Contact-free public transport (Part 1)

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

I heard on the radio that, despite ministers encouraging people in England back to work in their offices, most are staying at home. Commuter trains are about one-third full and buses are about 40% full. During the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for public transport fell off a cliff as governments told their people to stay at home.  A major part of encouraging travellers to use public transport is the provision of systems that allow social distancing of passengers from staff, ideally eliminating the need to exchange physical tickets, cash and paper receipts.

Payment card issuance errors leave you vulnerable to fraud

Major payment cards

As Consult Hyperion, and as many other analysts, predicted, Covid-19 has driven the adoption and use of contact-free technology at the point of service. A recent survey funded by the National Retail Foundation, found that no-touch payments have increased for 69 percent of US retailers surveyed, since January 2020. In May, Mastercard reported that 78% of all their transactions across Europe were contactless.

Fraudsters are always looking for ways to take advantage of potential weaknesses or even inexperience in new payment devices. A recent news story promoted a man in the middle attack in which two phones are used to transfer and manipulate the transaction message between a stolen contactless card and the point of sale terminal.

Contact-free and App Clips in Apple’s iOS 14

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The Use of Contact-free is Accelerating

At Consult Hyperion, we have already seen the pandemic accelerate the adoption of contact-free payments in the face to face environment as customers have become wary of catching COVID by touching shared devices, such as self-service terminals and PIN pads.  The use of personal devices for payments is hardly new but the attraction of an in-app/in-store version of mobile payments, whereby the consumer uses an app on their own device to interact with the retailer or service provider and pay for services, has just increased dramatically. Solutions for parking (RingGo) and for restaurants (like the Wahaca app, powered by Judopay) were already demonstrating the benefits of such an approach for customers and businesses before COVID struck.

Leveraging the payment networks for immunity passports

COVID-19

As if lockdown were not bad enough, many of us are now faced with spending the next year with children unable to spend their Gap Year travelling the more exotic parts of the world. The traditional jobs within the entertainment and leisure sectors that could keep them busy, and paid for their travel, are no longer available. The opportunity to spend time with elderly relatives depends on the results of their last COVID-19 test.

I recognize that we are a lucky family to have such ‘problems’. However, they are representative of the issues we all face as we work hard to bring our families, companies and organizations out of lockdown. When can we open up our facilities to our employees, customers and visitors? What protection should we offer those employees that must or choose to work away from home? What is the impact of the CEO travelling abroad to meet new employees or customers, sign that large deal or deliver the keynote at that trade fair in Las Vegas?

Museum pieces

[Dave Birch] The Mu$eum of American Finance at 48 Wall Street makes for a pleasant diversion if you’re out and about in the financial district. I pottered around the various displays and wandered, drawn by an invisible force, into the “History of Money” gallery. At the very end of the gallery, in the final section dedicated to the future, was a picture of a Japanese mobile phone being used as a Suica card (Suica just announced that they now have a million users) and a Vivotech contactless POS terminal (see picture).

American Museum of Finance

The label said something about contactless payments replacing money. Well, not in New York. Whereas my Barclaycard OnePulse Visa card (with PayWave) worked perfectly in Singapore, it hasn’t worked once in New York. At the Duane Reade drugstore, the attendant knew all about “Blink” cards and I happily tapped my card on the reader: nothing. My guess is that it’s an MSD-only reader, ignorant of worldwide contactless EMV standards. But I suppose it may just have been not working. That was the case at the AMC movie theatre where all of the contactless readers were turned sideways (the guy there said that they don’t work but he doesn’t know why). You can’t use contactless in the subway machines either.

I can’t pretend I’m not a little disappointed.


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