Saturday 14 December 2019

CIE's new mobile payments: swipe to buy your ticket

Paying for items on your phone with Apple Pay
Paying for items on your phone with Apple Pay
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

People with iPhones, Apple Watches and Android smartphones may soon be able to pay for tickets on Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann by swiping their gadget against the ticket machine wirelessly.

Plans published by CIE show that it wants to upgrade its IT systems to accommodate new forms of payments, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Stripe. The semi-state transport company is also eyeing alternative payment systems such as Android Pay, Masterpass and Visa Checkout.

Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are used by swiping or tapping Apple and Samsung phones against existing credit and debit card payment machines.

They work by registering your credit card with Apple or Samsung. Once a pin code or a fingerprint is applied, the smartwatch or phone can then pay for an item in a shop by swiping it next to an equipped cash register system.

The method works in a similar way to existing contactless debit cards.

While neither Apple Pay nor Samsung Pay is yet available in the Irish market, CIE wants to make its new systems compatible with the payment methods.

A potential tie-up with CIE is a part of a wider initiative within the Irish semi-state transport company to update the way it interacts with Irish travellers and commuters.

Part of this is set to include new, more user-friendly refund mechanisms.

CIE also wants to introduce new technology "that will rate customers based on their online behaviour". The initiative is being considered as a way of cutting down on so-called 'chargebacks', a problem for retailers battling fraud.

It is also looking at new ways to combat fraud and security. At present, the semi-state company says that it has "no measures in place" for fraud or security screening when taking payment over the phone.

CIE uses chip and pin security to fight fraud at vending machines, in booking offices and on board trains. It uses the '3D Secure' process for online payments.

Of the 2.86m annual payment transactions taken by CIE for bus and rail tickets, 51pc (1.45m) occur on vending machines. Meanwhile, 40pc (1.15m) of payments are taken online by CIE, while only 9pc (0.26m) of payments now occur over the phone, at a booking office or on board a train. Visa dominates Irish passengers' payment card habits, with 2.5m of the 2.9m annual card payments accorded to Visa.

The lion's share of these payments occur on debit cards, with over 2m payments processed on Visa Debit cards compared to just under 400,000 payments on Visa credit cards.

By comparison, the total number of all Mastercard payment transactions on CIE is under 300,000 per annum, or 10pc of the transport company's card-based customer payments.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in November that Apple Pay could be introduced in Ireland soon. The system is already in use in Northern Ireland and in Britain.

The tech giant has already announced that it will be expanded into Spain this year, as well as China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Globally, mobile payments are predicted to increase to €550bn this year, up from €400bn in 2015, according to a report from TrendForce. Meanwhile, eMarketer estimates that the total value of transactions made by tapping a phone on an in-store terminal will reach €190bn this year.

Full story, p7

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