Electronic Design

New York City Subways Go Contactless

NYC Subway trial puts MasterCard PayPass contactless payment system to the test.

Select New York City subway riders will now be able to reach their destinations even faster, thanks to a contactless payment trial sponsored by MasterCard, Citi Cards, and Citibank.

For the next six months, trial participants will be able to pay their subway fare using contactless technology powered by MasterCard PayPass. PayPass is a proprietary contactless payment solution that uses ISO/IEC 14443 standard technology to quickly process secure payment transactions at the point of sale. ISO/IEC 1443 is the international standard for smart chips and cards that operate at 13.56 MHz, has a read range of up to 4 inches, and supports data rates of between 106 kbits/s and 424 kbits/s.

During the course of the trial, participants will be able to use their contactless Citi credit card, Citibank MasterCard debit card, or payment tag on specially equipped subway turnstiles. Contactless Citi credit cards feature the traditional magnetic strip found on today’s credit cards as well as an RFID inlay—allowing the cardholder to choose their method of payment. Turnstiles equipped for contactless payment feature RFID readers that wirelessly transmit transaction details to a sales terminal and the MasterCard network for verification and processing.

New York City is just one of many major cities around the world that have turned to contactless payment solutions for transit transactions. In 1997, “Octopus” cards were introduced to Hong Kong residents as a quick way to pay for transportation. Today, more than 13.4 million cards Octopus cards account for more than 9.4 million transportation and quick service transactions in the city.

For more information about contactless payments, visit www.smartcardalliance.org.

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