Liverpool trial for bus bankcard payments

Bus passengers in Liverpool are to be the first in the UK to be able to use a bankcard to make on-board payment for travel.

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 buy a ticket simply by tapping their card on a dedicated reader.

The scheme was announced in a joint statement by Stagecoach, MasterCard and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), who said it will allow fast, convenient and safe payment.

MasterCard PayPass credit cards and Maestro PayPass debit cards allow holders to make payments under the value of £10 and will be a direct alternative to cash. Customers will still be given a bus ticket as proof of purchase.

It is the first ever use of contactless bankcard 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. Cardholders will also be able to use the PayPass functionality in several shopping locations across Liverpool to make small-value payments quickly.

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."

The PayPass feature can also be used at participating outlets elsewhere in the UK or overseas, and 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: "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.

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