Mastercard brings “Tap on Phone” to LAX bus service

The rise of contactless payments will be a marathon, not a sprint.

The latest foray into new territory came at the New York City Marathon on Sunday (November 7), where Mastercard demonstrated how its “Tap on Phone” technology can turn mobile phones and tablets into payment acceptance devices.

Chiro Aikat, Executive Vice President of Products and Innovation for North America at MasterCard, told Karen Webster that, in the wake of this event, another pilot is underway on the West Coast, where some Los Angeles public transport travelers will receive on-the-job training, so to speak, with Tap on Phone. while gaining the confidence and familiarity to use contactless payments in other contexts.

In an exclusive interview, Aikat told Webster that Mastercard is piloting Cloud POS technology for the Flyaway bus service from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) to Los Angeles Airport (LAX). The payments network works in collaboration with Pacific Coast, helping to make contactless open-loop payments more accessible and inclusive.

“You can just type the phone with your Mastercard and pay the fare – where you had to do it all in cash,” he said. “It makes it easier for transit operators, as well as consumers,” by eliminating the need to buy cards and keep loading them with funds.

In terms of mechanics, as Aikat explained, transit operators will have access to Android smartphones with Cloud Tap on Phone capabilities to accept contactless Mastercard transactions. Tap on Phone is powered by Mastercard Foundry’s Cloud Point of Sale (POS) technology and leverages Verizon 5G, enabling small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to handle transactions quickly and securely.

The pilot is part of the California Department of Transportation’s initiative to enable contactless acceptance at more than 300 state agencies.

The NYC and LA announcements come after Mastercard said in a Press release earlier this year, it partnered with NMI and Global Payments Inc. to launch its first live Cloud Tap on Phone pilot with Computer Engineering Group. The software is hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

At the New York event, the Cloud Tap on Phone feature at the NYC Marathon Expo was powered by 5G technology. Earlier this year, Mastercard and Verizon Business said in a Press release they were teaming up to bring the broadband connectivity service to payments and to enable smartphones or other connected devices to accept payments, which includes Tap on Phone. In terms of technological advantages, Aikat said that reducing latency and increasing the speed of payments will help expand the reach and appeal of contactless payments.

Scaling up to the new normal

Tap on Phone seeks to bring digital, large-scale payments to a range of entities, and especially SMEs, in an affordable and timely manner, Aikat said.

“This is another step into the future,” he said. “We’re all talking about the next generation of point of sale, and cloud technology is going to be a big driver. “

The phone itself is becoming a means of payment, and the most recent results from Mastercard underscore this dynamic. Management said contactless transactions accounted for 48% of in-person purchase transactions globally, up from 45% in the previous quarter.

“It is becoming the norm,” Aikat said, especially as more and more transmitters move into contactless.

Fill the “void” of the capital

Tap on Phone complements existing and ongoing efforts by SMEs to meet consumers where they want to be met – with contactless payments – but it also helps fill a critical gap, he said.

“One of the biggest problems for small businesses is access to capital,” he said. And access to capital encompasses much more than the mere possibility of soliciting lenders for loans.

As Aikat explained, through Tap to Phone, “we are giving these companies faster access to their own money.”

So imagine the smallest of SMBs, the sole owner – a plumber, maybe – who typically sends an invoice, waits for payment, and can juggle cash flow by mixing accounts or using personal credit to keep operations going. afloat. He deposits the check in the bank and has to wait several days for the check to clear to access these funds. Leveraging Tap to Pay, Aikat said, can give this small business owner instant access to cash.

Aikat noted that Tap to Phone complements Mastercard’s suite of SMB services that integrate with businesses’ accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Aikat was quick to point out that contactless payments will also transform the retail experience in large businesses, as the checkout and checkout parts of the experience will be seamless. Tap to Phone, conducted in the aisles immediately after interacting with vendors, will ease the congestion that has traditionally been seen at the checkout. Retailers, he said, will thus see higher conversion rates, capturing the consumer the moment they want to make the purchase.

Going forward, he predicted that contactless payment options for transit users will have a “domino effect” on user behaviors. This impact has been evident since before the pandemic.

“We have seen that consumers are starting to do more with contactless when they shop near places where they use public transport,” he said. “Merchants around these sites have experienced significant growth in contactless payments. With the LAX pilot, we will see the same thing. With Tap on Phone, it’s just one more place and way for the consumer to use the contactless device.

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