Littlepay Expand Contactless Transit Payments to Porto

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The city of Porto sees a huge upgrade to its transport system as Littlepay announce its collaboration for the introduction of Portugal’s first contactless transit ticketing system. The transit payment service provider is partnering with Visa, Andante (intermodal ticketing system for the Metropolitan Area of Porto, managed by TIP), Unicre, Card4B and Cybersource, to launch a pilot project on Metro do Porto’s Linha Violeta (E) and STCP Bus Line 500, which will offer passengers a simple, secure and convenient way to pay for fares.

From late July, residents, business travellers and tourists, will no longer need to top up their Andante cards every time they want to use the tube line that supports the Porto International Airport or the buses of STCP Bus Line 500. With ‘Tap-to-Pay’, users can experience more seamless journeys, paying fares by tapping their contactless debit, credit, prepaid card, or payment-enabled device on payment readers. There is no need to carry cash, queue for tickets or understand the local ticketing system.

Simple fares for better mobility

In the coming months, it is planned to roll-out the system to all metro lines; and, by the end of 2022, contactless payments will be accepted across the entire STCP bus fleet and CP-Porto trains. It is predicted the simplicity of this payment method will play a vital role in promoting the use of public transport in Porto, enabling better, more environmentally sustainable mobility for residents and tourists.

Each trip on Metro do Porto will cost €2.00 and will be valid for 1h15m, regardless of the number of boardings within participating stations. On STCP, the fare for a single journey will be €2.00 and will be valid in one direction only between any two stops on the 500 line, not allowing transfers. On both Metro and STCP, passengers using the system will enjoy automatic best-value fares, and will never pay more than €7.00 (the cost of a daily ticket), no matter how many journeys they make during the day.

Plug-and-play integrations

Littlepay APIs allow card payment readers, acquiring banks and back-offices to plug-and-play with its payment processing platform to handle the complete transaction flow. For this deployment, Littlepay is working in partnership with payments management platform Cybersource, a Visa solution, to facilitate a connection to Portugal’s largest acquiring bank, Unicre. System integrator Card4B is providing cEMV ticketing technology, using ACS payment readers, and a back office for fare calculations.

Littlepay’s back-office API allows smooth integration with Card4B’s AFC back office to enable synchronisation with Andante’s fare system. Business rules are maintained within the AFC back-office, while contactless payment processes are delegated to Littlepay. This way, the complexities of tap aggregation, deny list management and debt recovery are handled expertly in Littlepay’s PCI-Level 1 certified environment, which is fully compliant with the card schemes’ rules for transit.

Amin Shayan, CEO of Littlepay, says, “It’s been a huge honour and great experience to work with an amazing team of partners who are blazing a trail in transit payments and ticketing innovation. Everyone involved in this project has shown great drive and commitment to getting this pilot project live, to bring passengers the benefit of a secure, frictionless ‘Tap-to-Pay’ option.”

Supporting recovery

While the contactless project in Porto was planned before the pandemic, its arrival comes at a critical moment for post-pandemic recovery, supporting the role of public transportation in returning to ‘business as usual’, and providing a safe, easy payment experience for passengers seeking limited physical touchpoints. A recent research survey by C Space on behalf of Visa showed that 44% of public transit users believe they would use public transportation more often if contactless payments were available and 60% of them strongly expect contactless to be available on public transport in the future.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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