The system will rely on near field communications (NFC) chips contained in customers' mobile phones to handle the payment transactions for each trip. Alternatively, riders can pay with their phones by scanning a QR code at the beginning and end point of their ride.
Touch&Travel mobile apps are available for iPhone and Android-based smart phones. "In addition to using NFC or barcodes to provide location information, smartphone apps can use GPS or the user can type in a location ID number," writes NFC World. Riders will be billed for their transit usage at the end of each month.
Contact-less payments are just one of the many uses for NFC, which is one of the most-talked-about technologies of the last year. Some other use cases include exchanging contact information, mobile gaming and unlocking doors, to name a few. Still, mobile payments are perhaps the most anticipated of its future uses, as everybody from banks and credit card companies to Google and smaller tech startups have been preparing solutions in this space.
New York City's transit system started its own pilot program for mobile payments last year, which lets riders pay for trips with their iPhones. Since the iPhone does not yet support NFC natively, the devices need to be housed in a special casing in order to work with New York's subway, rail, bus and taxi systems.
Will mobile payments make commuters lives easier or is this just a tech fad waiting to happen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.