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Survey finds two thirds of Canadians want quicker contactless payments for public transit

Source: Interac

New survey findings released today by Interac show that nearly seven in ten Canadians (68 per cent) say contactless payments would make paying for transit quicker and more convenient.

These results come amid a slower than expected recovery in public transit use, with daily ridership having dropped by approximately 44 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic.

With more infrequent transit usage, over a third (37 per cent) of Canadians view having a dedicated transit card or app as inconvenient – compared to about 1 in 5 (19 per cent) regular transit users surveyed pre-pandemic who found it cumbersome to pay for a ride, further highlighting the need for new contactless payment options where the rider can pay their fare without using tokens, tickets or passes.

“The rider experience needs to become more seamless if we hope to help entice Canadians to return to transit post-pandemic. Reducing fare friction, and specifically removing the obstacle of obtaining and loading dedicated transit passes on an ongoing basis, is one important factor when it comes to improving the customer journey,” said Andrew Yablonovsky, Associate Vice-President, Product Strategy and Growth, Interac Corp. “As the transportation sector moves to adopt contactless payments, debit has an important role to play in helping to make transit more accessible for Canadians who don’t have access to credit or want flexibility in how they pay for their trips.”

The Interac survey shows that more than eight in 10 Canadians surveyed (83 per cent) bring their bank card with them whenever they leave home, and two thirds of transit users (67 per cent) indicate they would be likely to pay for transit by tapping their debit or credit card, if the option was available.

The survey further shows that over half of Canadians participants (52 per cent) view transit use as being important for economic recovery, and seven in 10 surveyed (69 per cent) believe it would be easier for visitors to pay for transit using their bank card as opposed to tickets, tokens or passes.

“Our economy stands to benefit from greater transit ridership,” added Yablonovsky. “The way we approach payments will help transit networks in our cities become more welcoming to visitors, while influencing the degree to which local residents who rely on transit services most can have more control and choice over how they pay for their trips.”

Interac is working within the transit ecosystem to support the introduction of contactless debit payments. 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. The company has recently partnered with Moneris, which became the first acquirer in Canada to process Interac Debit for open loop payments. Interac Debit is now accepted on UP Express in Toronto offering riders a contactless payment option, and Translink in Metro Vancouver will soon enable Interac Debit into that network’s payment system.

“In the not-too-distant future, we hope that Canadians could have the option to use multiple means of public transportation in a seamless journey by making one single payment – for example integrating ride- or bike-sharing services with buses, trains, subways and other modes of transportation,” Yablonovsky said. “Digital payments will be important to developing these multi-modal mobility services to meet the future needs of Canadians.”

Other key findings from the Interac study:

Transit is seeing a slower than expected post-pandemic recovery: Daily transit ridership is struggling to recover following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the largest drop coming from Canadians earning less than $40,000 (40 per cent lower in August 2022 compared to before March 2020) and those aged between 18 and 34 (70 per cent lower in August 2022 compared to before March 2020).
Paying for transit should be as easy as any other daily purchase: Eight in 10 (82 per cent) Canadians agree that paying for transit should be as easy as buying a cup of coffee.
Transit is the green choice for Canadians: Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of Canadians believe transit use is good for the environment. 

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