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Stagecoach Group has started the roll out of contactless payments across its rail companies, making it even easier for passengers to buy their train tickets.
Passengers at nearly 180 stations across the South West Trains and East Midlands Trains networks will be able to easily and quickly pay for rail journeys by touching their contactless cards or devices against ticket readers at manned ticket outlets.
The new technology, which incorporates industry standard security, has been developed by Fujitsu UK and Ireland and Ingenico and will be rolled out over the next four months. A second phase of the initiative is scheduled to equip all ticket vending machines with the technology by the end of the year.
The new system allows for ‘touch to pay’ payments by credit or debit card up to a maximum of £20, the current banking limit for contactless technology. The average price of a single journey on the UK rail network is £5.13.
All bank cards featuring contactless technology can simply and securely be touched against the reader to pay rather than inserting a card into the chip & PIN machine and entering a PIN. The payment is completed in just a few seconds. The lights on the reader go green confirming that the transaction has been approved. Customers who have a smartphone, with their bank card details contained, can also pay for tickets by touching their phone on the contactless reader.
Alistair Smith, Stagecoach Group Director of Commercial and IT, said: “We are at the forefront of using new technology to transform our customers' experience. Our experience has been that passengers value the convenience and speed of contactless payments, which are now more widely accepted than ever by many businesses across many different industries.”
Paul Patterson, Executive Director at Fujitsu, said: “Keeping up with the latest technology is key to enhancing the customer experience. Contactless payment technology will allow Stagecoach to increase the quality and speed of its service and ensure customers' data is protected to the highest standard."
The project has also been supported by MasterCard, whose cards and those of other providers will be accepted by the system.
Marion King, President, UK & Ireland, MasterCard, said: “On busy commuter lines in the UK, the provision of contactless technology will make buying a ticket significantly quicker and easier. We are delighted to be working with both South West Trains and East Midlands Trains to introduce the technology to over 180 stations across England.”