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NEWS / 20.10.2008


To the metro with a credit card

It seems that the mass use of bank cards for travel payment in the metropolitan did begin. It is possible to predict a rapid increase in the number of users who will pay for the services of travel in the metro through a cashless mean. As head of the city metro announced, Dmitri Gaev, at a press conference in the lobby of the station "Mayakovskaya", since mid-November, Muscovites will be able to order a special bank card with a contactless chip for the payment of their travels.

Meanwhile, in general, the technology of cashless travel payment using plastic cards combines the capabilities of banking and transport cards and allows to set up a system of closed-cycle services, when using a single card, user can carry out the payment for services of on-ground and underground transport, as well as suburban electric trains. But there is still quite a way to reach such a single commercial system - even in New York, Washington (USA), New Delhi (India) and Singapore, which introduced similar systems in the subway, such solutions are local only for the subway: the complex project requires too expensive IT system and, of course, the political decision of municipal authorities, which sometimes is very difficult to get.

Although, without a doubt, the introduction of even local solutions for the payment with the use of a bank card travel on the subway with proper approach by the participants of the system can substantially reduce the loading of the capacity of cashier hubs in the capital's metro at the beginning of the month, when passengers update travel cards, or buy tickets for four weeks. In addition, the advantage of such a solution is the security of use - in case of loss of the normal ticket, holder cannot recover it, but a credit card can be blocked through the telephone and restored in several days.

The system, which is implemented in the metro, involves three actors - transport operator (in this case Moscow Metro), a commercial bank (Citibank) and computer center (the company "Express Card"), which records information on the cards issued, receives information about the passage of the holders of bank cards through the entrance turnstiles, conducts the procedure of verification of settlement amounts on the cards with the data of the transport operator, passes the verified figures to be debited to the banks of the cards, as well as monitors timely loading of the card passports by the participants of the project. The information between these parties to the system is transferred through high-speed communication channels, metro and the computer center have DPCs for storing and processing data.

Functionally plastic card with contactless module for the passage into the city metro is the most normal credit card with gross period up to 50 days: Citibank issues such cards in tens of millions worldwide. According to the status it will be equal to MasterCard Standard and suitable for the making of purchases through the Internet. In addition, to identify the owner during the passing through the turnstiles, it has an added RFID-chip, similar to the one installed in the tickets of series "Ultralight" used for the city metro. Once the passenger applies such card to do the validator, located in the turnstile, computer center of the system accepts such information and gives the command to the metro system to let the passenger through. If the card is in the stop-sheet, passage is rejected. Payment for the travels is conducted at the end of the month - all the passages through the turnstile are summed and charge at the most advantageous tariff. For example, if there were 22 trips, then taking into account the cost of one ticket for 20 trips and one for 2, rather than twenty-two single trips, which would be more expensive.

In addition this credit card, can be issued with three additional cards, which are "tied" to one account - very handy to pay for transportation costs of the whole family from one account. The cost of such an Express card from Citibank will be about 1 thousand rubles a year, and it can be used like a normal card, including for the payment of the utilities, through the Internet bank or ATM of the financial and credit institutions. The only difficulty which may arise in obtaining such a card - is the need for its issuance in the office of the bank and collection of the necessary documents for this (reference 2-NDFL to confirm the salary minimum of 9 thousand rubles, as well as a copy of the passport and secondary documents, etc.) To date, the potential market for a new credit card is estimated by the bank at more than 1 million customers, but we think it is very optimistic: it would be good, if the number of actual users will be at least 10 times less.

We want to believe that the development of this project will not stop at a local solution for a specific target audience of users, but will be expanded. For example, stations will have several machines for selling tickets, which accept change and banknotes, can "talk" with four or five major languages and easily deliver change. It is these projects, implemented on already existing IT infrastructure and with minimal investment in training of users (the majority of city residents know how to handle this kind of devices), could really unload cashier halls at the bus metro stations.

Source: www.pcweek.ru