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Canada's Interac pilots contactless transit payments

Source: Interac

Interac Debit is now being accepted as a contactless payment option on UP Express through a pilot led by Metrolinx on the PRESTO fare payment system.

This new option will allow UP Express riders to purchase their transit fare by tapping their physical Interac debit card or a card added to a mobile wallet directly on a fare machine.

Today’s announcement marks the first time a transit agency in Canada is offering Interac Debit as a contactless payment option, giving transit riders convenient access without needing to purchase separate tickets or passes.

“When transit authorities add Interac Debit they are offering their riders a form of payment that almost 30 million Canadians already use for day-to-day purchases,” said William Keliehor, Chief Commercial Officer, Interac Corp. “Introducing payment options such as Interac Debit contactless payments on public transit is one of the ways in which transit agencies can help with the responsible recovery of transit networks – and cities – from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to a 2020 Interac survey conducted prior to the pandemic, nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) transit riders surveyed would be likely to use ‘open payments’, which remove the need to purchase dedicated passes and tickets and make paying for transit as simple as paying for daily essentials. Interac Debit is one of the most prevalent forms of payment in Canada — 94 per cent of Canadian adults have a debit card1 — which gives it the potential to be widely adopted as a preferred method of payment for Canadians when utilizing open payment capabilities in future.

“Earlier this year, we launched a pilot on UP Express to allow transit riders to pay their fare with their credit cards, modernizing the PRESTO payment experience” said Barclay Hancock, Chief Payments Officer, Metrolinx. “We’re thrilled to now be adding Interac Debit to this pilot, providing even more choice and convenience for customers and marking a first for a transit authority in Canada.”

“More and more Canadians want a future where they can purchase their public transit fares through an open payment system,” said Andrew Yablonovsky, Associate Vice-President, Portfolio Strategy & Growth, Interac Corp. “Having the ability to utilize their Interac debit card gives transit users the varied payment options they are seeking. We see debit usage continuing to grow as transit authorities across Canada begin to adopt this open payment system.”

This pilot is expected to be followed by the expansion of Interac Debit contactless payments to additional transit agencies on the PRESTO network. Interac continues to work with transit authorities and other mobility service providers across Canada to enable Interac Debit contactless as a form of payment. 

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