Move to open loop payments begins on Finland’s city transport

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Littlepay announces the launch of open loop payments on public transport in Finland’s capital Helsinki and its second largest urban area, the city of Tampere. Tap-to-pay is now live on selected ferries and trams in Helsinki and on buses operated by Nysse in Tampere.

Last year, transit-focused payment service provider, Littlepay, won a contract with Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) and TVV lippu- ja maksujärjestelmä Oy (LMJ) to enable contactless EMV payments on public transport in Helsinki and in other Finnish cities. This is the first phase of the project, which will continue with multi-modal roll-outs across the cities’ transit systems. 

Simplicity and convenience for riders

HSL’s key objective in modernizing its ticketing and payment system is to improve the experience of commuting and leisure travel. Quick, easy and safe contactless transit payments are expected to be popular with city dwellers and tourists who already use tap-to-pay solutions in retail and hospitality. 

Mari Flink, Customer Experience and Sales, Director of Department, at HSL says, “We believe our riders will appreciate the convenience of the new systems we are putting in place. On public transport, it’s so simple to tap a contactless card or device on a reader, rather than queuing to buy a travel card or ticket, or downloading a transit app.”

Contactless preference in Nordic region

There is already strong contactless payment adoption in the Nordics, which has accelerated in the last year. Data from paytech leader Nets shows that the ratio of contactless card payments rose significantly in the region during the pandemic – from around 56% at the start of 2020 to 74% in November. In Finland, there was growth from 64% to 70% over that period.   

Petri Carpén, Director at Nets, says: “The Nordic region has long been at the forefront when it comes to contactless payment. Although the trend was clear when we entered 2020, the change in consumer behavior over the last year has been unusually rapid.”

A modular open loop payment system

The fare collection systems being used in Helsinki and Tampere are an example of Littlepay’s modular approach. Both use Littlepay for transit payment processing and Nets for card scheme connectivity. However, the solutions vary in their choice of integrated hardware. In Helsinki, PPT Excellence validators handle card taps, while in Tampere, hardware is provided by Pusatec and Logos. 

The ability to plug-and-play different connected validators and acquiring services is a key advantage of using Littlepay. The payment gateway has secured numerous partnerships with ticketing technology providers and financial institutions, which allow it to offer a range of hybrid solutions. All integrations are PCI Level 1 certified and compliant with card scheme rules for transit.

First use of new technology

Littlepay has achieved a number of ‘firsts’ to bring these projects to fruition, including localization of its merchant portal, with Finnish and Swedish translations and Euro currency support.

For the Tampere deployment, Littlepay has enhanced its fare capping rules to introduce zonal, time-based capping. This allows the transit agency to configure fare caps depending on the time period a passenger is travelling within and the zonal areas they enter during their journey. The new capping rules offer flexibility and value for the passenger. They can travel across as many zones as needed within the travel window and trust that they will be charged the best fare for the journey taken. 

Littlepay’s new fare inspection app, Littlepay Inspect, sees its first use in Helsinki. The app is compatible with any Android, NFC-enabled device and so removes the need for expensive, PCI compliant hardware to check a contactless payment method’s validity for travel. It supports inspection on- and off-vehicles, automatically checking cards against a list of known taps.

Another of HSL’s objectives with this project is to begin a migration towards account based ticketing in Finland’s cities, which would mean travel rights and travel product rules are controlled in a back-end system. To facilitate this, a later phase of the project will involve the use of Littlepay’s recently developed back-office API to integrate a back-office with the payment platform.

Transit payment specialism

Littlepay has become a valued partner to HSL and LMJ during the onboarding process, because of its specialism in transit payments and the experience it has gained working with over 200 public transport operators. Littlepay’s tap-to-pay solutions are on more than 20,000 vehicles in the UK and Ireland, and expansion into mainland Europe and the USA is already well underway.

Kira Hellstrom, Project Manager at HSL, says, “Littlepay’s experience in the field is valuable for us, as contactless payment in transit is a complex and strictly-regulated area. We appreciate their good knowledge, experience and partnership in our journey towards contactless.” 

Amin Shayan, CEO of Littlepay, says, “It is great to see two cities go live in Finland. We thank HSL and LMJ for entrusting us to deliver open loop payments and we look forward to expanding the system across their networks, encompassing more transport modes into a unified solution. The Nordic region is increasingly cashless and we anticipate strong adoption.”

About Littlepay

Littlepay provides payments infrastructure for transit and mobility. We’re 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 200 operators in the UK, Ireland and Europe, with tap-to-pay on over 20,000 vehicles. Further expansion into Europe and the U.S. is underway in 2021, with deployments in California, France and Portugal among others.

About The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL)

The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority is a joint local authority whose member municipalities include Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Kauniainen, Kerava, Sipoo, Tuusula, Kirkkonummi and Siuntio. HSL procures public transport services for these municipalities. It is responsible for drawing up the Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ), planning and organizing public transport in the region, and improving its operating conditions.

About Nets

At Nets, we see easier products and solutions as the foundation for growth and progress – both in commerce and society. With headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, and more than 4,000 employees located across Europe, we help financial institutions, businesses and merchants across Europe make tomorrow a little easier for their customers while delivering unrivalled security and stability. Powering payment solutions for an easier tomorrow. For more information, please see: www.nets.eu

Photos courtesy Lauri Eriksson/HSL

You will receive our regular news digest – typically weekly. We are serious about GDPR and we promise to take care of your data and will never sell it or pass it on.

Your Privacy

We and our partners use technologies, such as cookies, and process personal data, such as IP addresses and cookie identifiers, to personalise ads and content based on your interests, measure the performance of ads and content, and derive insights about the audiences who saw ads and content. Click below to consent to the use of this technology and the processing of your personal data for these purposes. View our privacy policy.