Unicard LTD, an established provider of Smart Ticketing and payment solutions to the public and commercial transport sector, today announced its acquisition of Smart Ticketing specialists Ecebs from Visa, in a market transaction that will enable Unicard to offer a more comprehensive range of solutions in the UK, and abroad.
The move sees Unicard add contactless EMV to its extensive solutions portfolio, comprised of an industry leading Smart Ticketing platform, supporting both commercial and concessionary fare schemes, alongside its suite of ITSO, ABT (Account Based Ticketing), MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service), and rail ticketing solutions.
The contactless EMV solution, which allows passengers to tap in and out using a payment card, will be substantially accretive to Unicard’s capabilities. It enables the business to directly respond to needs of Local Authorities and transport operators, and puts it at the centre of the rapidly growing smart mobility sector. The comprehensive range of solutions caters directly to the deployment of multi-operator, multi-token, multi-modal services across trains, buses, e-Scooters and other forms of transport.
The expansion will cement Unicard’s significant leadership position in the UK market for smartcard ticketing and concessionary travel. Unicard’s solutions have been adopted by over 70 Local and Regional Authorities in England and Scotland, including Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Transport Scotland, Mersey Travel and Solent Transport, as well as the provision of central back office for Rail Delivery Group. Unicard can now add Transport for Wales and, significantly, Transport for London (TfL) to the list.
Unicard aims to work with new customer Nottingham City Council to help support its Future Transport Zone (FTZ) ambitions, where the city council could benefit from Unicard’s experience with the rollout of MaaS for TfWM’s Swift travel scheme, and the MaaS and rail accreditation elements of Solent Transport’s Breeze travel App, in line with the respective FTZ programme aspirations.
Sean Dickinson, CEO of Unicard, explained: “Acquiring Ecebs has strengthened Unicard’s position in the smart travel market, and significantly extends our capabilities and footprint. We’re committed to delivering accessible, inclusive and integrated ticketing solutions for both our new and existing customers, while also helping them deliver new, innovative smart travel schemes.”
Sean added: “Our three guiding principles in approaching the acquisition were about selecting the right partner, ensuring continuity of business for ours, and their customers, whilst maintaining our reputation as a partner renowned for its market innovation, close working relationships and importantly, customer care. Unicard has a strong heritage in the industry, but it’s important for us to retain Ecebs’ expert knowledge and market insight to continue providing high quality products and services to all our customers and their passengers.”
Russell Mccullagh, General Manager of Ecebs, commented: “Unicard is a well-respected business with shared interests and a similar culture. We’re confident that both companies’ customers can expect to see continuous innovation and the ongoing delivery of high-quality services, offering real flexibility and a superior experience for the travelling public.”
Unicard has also signed a commercial agreement with Visa to use Cybersource, its global payments platform. This gives the company an opportunity to offer its services across international borders. However, its immediate focus remains expanding its footprint in the UK.
Moving forward, customers will benefit from Unicard’s industry-leading secure ticketing, identity, payments and data management capabilities to both companies’ customers. These include its MaaS-ready ITSO HOPS suite, Smart Office cardholder and customer management solution, mobile apps, ITSO integration tools, and accredited Rail Suite middleware platform for retailing UK rail tickets. In addition, as a cloud-first provider, Unicard plans to migrate all of Ecebs’ on-premise infrastructure to the cloud to provide more scalable and, ultimately, more cost-effective services to its customers.