Portugal’s first contactless transit ticketing system launches in Porto

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Littlepay announces its collaboration for the introduction of Portugal’s first contactless transit ticketing system, in the city of Porto.

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 today, 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 synchronization 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. 

*Research by C Space on behalf of Visa on Urban Mobility habits and preferences among Portuguese, 201 Portuguese individuals surveyed. June 2021.

About Littlepay

Littlepay is the only payment service provider working exclusively in the public transport and mobility space. With our modular Littlepay Contactless platform, the journey to contactless EMV acceptance has never been simpler. Our APIs allow integrations with a range of capable EMV readers, fare systems and financial institutions. Transit agencies can plug-and-play a solution in weeks.

Our merchant portal allows easy configuration of fare products and rules; and provides a clear view of transaction data, with simple analysis and reporting functionality. Operators can opt-in to use our insight suite, including data feeds, for granular detail on travel and purchase behaviour. 

Littlepay currently processes payments for more than 250 public transit agencies and operators, with tap-to-pay on over 20,000 vehicles. With an established presence in the UK and Ireland, we are now expanding into Continental Europe and the United States. In addition to this pilot in Porto, Portugal, deployments are live in Spain and Finland, and we are involved in several contactless demonstrations connected to the California Integrated Travel Project.

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