- Author: TRB Transit Cooperative Research Program
- Date: 04/29/2020
Nearly all transit agencies are seeing potential benefits to multimodal payment convergence. However, many agencies find that implementing necessary upgrades…
America’s payment system is transforming as methods of transacting digitally grow. Digital transactions offer the opportunity to move money faster, cheaper, and more conveniently for customers and businesses. Digital transactions can also unlock new methods for businesses to operate; the online economy is only possible because of online payments.
Our current payment system has solved one set of challenges to unlock the new economy, but the system causes significant problems for others. The current system has a cost structure that is expensive for digital micro-payments, which are small dollar payments. Furthermore, digital payments require accessing digital currency which is easy for the wealthy but can be expensive for those with less income. Finally, digital payment acceptance is fragmented, cumbersome, and slow, creating delays.
These problems form a perfect storm when it comes to transit agencies. Public transit has a large share of low-dollar, high-volume payments. Transit agencies face unique challenges in adapting their fare payment systems to best meet the needs of riders while simultaneously solving concerns regarding user ease, speed, interoperability, and costs.
Enhancing payment efficiency for low-dollar, high-volume payments offers benefits beyond public transit as America’s infrastructure and mobility methods rapidly evolve.
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