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Citi begins trial of contactless payments on subway

12 July 2006  |  3183 views  |  0 Source: MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA New York City Transit and Citi Cards and Citibank today announced the beginning of a six-month contactless payment trial in select New York City subway stations with pre-selected Citi credit card and Citibank customers.

The goal of the NYC Subway Trial is to evaluate the benefits of contactless payment technology in the busy NYC subway environment. The trial will take place at select Lexington Avenue Line 4, 5, 6 stations, between the 138th Street stations in the Bronx, two stations in Queens, and Borough Hall Station in Brooklyn.

New York Giants running back and quintessential New Yorker, Tiki Barber, was onsite today at the Times Square Shuttle platform in Grand Central station to help launch the trial and to conduct the first ceremonial "Tap & Go" payment.

Using contactless payment technology, powered by MasterCard PayPass, participants in the subway trial will be able to pay for their fare at the point of entry by simply tapping their contactless Citi credit card, Citibank MasterCard debit card or payment tag on a specially equipped reader built into the subway turnstile. These specially equipped turnstiles feature a graphic (a white asterisk mark on a circular green background) that is unique to the trial, so that participants know which turnstiles accept their cards or payment tags. The cards and payment tags can also be used at any MasterCard PayPass merchant location in the U.S. and globally. The payment tag conveniently fits on a key chain, and both the tag and card allow for everyday small purchases to be completed quickly, securely and easily, without needing to fumble for cash and coins.

"The MTA is pleased to have the opportunity to work with MasterCard and Citigroup to learn more about their approach to contactless payment technology for transit," said Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter S. Kalikow. "Our goal in this trial is to evaluate the potential of contactless payments to simplify fare payment for customers who travel throughout the MTA network, while also evaluating its operating efficiencies."

Trial participants can use their Citi credit card, Citibank debit card or payment tag in two ways to gain entry to the subway: pre-pay or pay as you go. Both options allow trial participants to access a website or call center to retrieve ride history and details of charges.

Pre-pay: Trial participants will have the ability to pre-pay for their rides by registering their Citi credit card, Citibank debit card or payment tag online or via the telephone where they will be eligible for the MTA 20% bonus. Pre-pay service allows the rider to fund a transit account using a Citi credit card or Citibank debit account. The transit account will automatically be replenished when the balance falls below a set amount.

Pay-as-you-go: Trial participants will also have the ability to pay-as-they-go without registering their card or payment tag. Instead of stopping in stations or elsewhere to buy a $2 card for a subway ride, participants simply tap their contactless Citi credit card, Citibank debit card or payment tag at the reader on the turnstile to pay for a ride.

During the first four months of the trial, all participants in the trial will receive three free rides compliments of Citibank and MasterCard. Participants who pre-pay on the website will receive an additional three free rides, for a total of six free rides.

"Citigroup is always looking for ways to make the lives of its customers easier. As a leader in innovative products and services, contactless payment is a very important feature for Citigroup. We understand the significant speed, convenience and security benefits it can provide, especially to New York City's busy commuters," said Amy Radin, Chief Innovation Officer, Global Consumer Group, Citigroup. "We expect the NYC Subway Trial to be well received by our participating customers and look forward to seeing the results."

"Time is the new currency," said Art Kranzley, Group Executive, Advanced Payments, MasterCard Worldwide. "PayPass is ideal for quick payment environments where speed is essential and anyone who has ever commuted through the NYC subway system understands the importance of saving even a few seconds."

The new Citi and Citibank payment tag leverages technology from On Track Innovations Ltd, (OTI) (NASDAQ: OTIV), a global leader in contactless microprocessor-based smart card solutions. Ziba, an internationally recognized design consultancy, designed the Citi and Citibank payment tag based on customer insights.

ACS, a world leader in providing end-to-end fare collection solutions, is providing back-office payment platform services for the trial and also provided installation support. Dione, a Lipman Engineering company, provided its Dione Secura module for use as the contactless terminal in the subway trial.

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