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Mastercard Hits Aussie Ferries With Contactless Payments

July 12, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

We’ve already seen how public transportation is taking increasing advantage of mobile payments services; the British are increasingly masters of this particular craft. The Australians, however, want to get in on this as well, and recently brought in Mastercard to provide contactless payment systems for several ferries in Sydney.

More specifically, the F1 Manly to Circular Quay ferries run by Sydney Ferries are getting the upgrade, which allows passengers to use either a Mastercard contactless card or a mobile wallet system that uses Mastercard cards as the means to pay a fare. That includes both domestic and international Mastercard cards, so this might prove a useful boost to tourism.

Mastercard’s vice president of enterprise partnerships, Doug Howe, commented “Australians are continuously embracing digital payment technology, with 82 percent using tap-and-go to make payments every week. This indicates that many recognize the benefits of faster and more convenient payment methods, so it makes good sense to extend this option to transport.”

What’s more, it’s clear that there’s a lot of interest in this concept. That 82 percent figure that Howe cited comes from the December 2016 version of the Mastercard Digital Purchasing Survey of the Australian market, and Australia isn’t even the first country to see Mastercard step in on fare handling. Over 100 cities worldwide have Mastercard contactless operations as part of current public transportation services.

It’s clear there’s interest in such a setup, and that’s good news for both users and for Mastercard…or anyone else who tries to get a slice of this market. An easier way to pay for fares on a public transportation system will improve the user’s day, as well as make it easier for the government managing this system to handle its accounting details. With an automated payment system, it becomes that much easier to tell how many riders are involved in the system and whether or not improvements need to be made accordingly. Plus, automated systems generally require less oversight, which means further value for the system and potentially even lower costs.

This level of automation should prove welcome for the governments who use it, and since it means a better end user experience as well, for the taxpayers who ultimately pay for it.