Need for integrated payment solutions in APAC public transport sector

Photo by Joey Lu

Half (49%) of commuters in Asia Pacific use four or more different payment methods for transportation each month, the Visa Global Urban Mobility Survey conducted by Wakefield Research shows.

Three out of five respondents (58%) expressed a desire to use a single payment method for all transportation modes, which would in turn encourage them to use public transport more. The study’s findings further underline the growing need to simplify payment methods for commuters.

Public transportation accounts for nearly 70 per cent of urban passenger trips in Asia Pacific. As urban populations continue to grow, the public transportation sector faces a pressing need to adapt to the evolving needs and payment preferences of commuters. For many unbanked households, public transit is an essential service for their transport needs – however, many consumers struggle with the payment methods available.

According to this year’s study, which surveyed commuters across four Asia Pacific markets including Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore, 96 per cent of respondents expect public transport providers to offer contactless payment methods, with 65 per cent of respondents likely to use a contactless payment option for their public transport needs.

These options include contactless debit, credit or prepaid cards. Benefits cited for leveraging contactless payments include convenience, having less worry over carrying enough or exact cash, and a guarantee of the best possible fare through fare capping limits.

“The study reveals a strong demand among commuters in Asia Pacific for seamless and convenient payment options in public transportation,” said T.R. Ramachandran, Head of Products and Solutions, Asia Pacific, Visa.

Half of commuters (45%) will also use public transport on a more frequent basis if their journeys are fare-capped, the study shows. Contactless payments guarantee exact fares for transit riders as opposed to other methods such as cash.

Fare capping also limits how much a commuter pays for their total rides in a day, week or month, eliminating the need to tie up funds on a monthly pass or transit-dedicated card.

“The benefits of contactless payment options on public transport extend beyond minimising friction for consumer payments – they are also an integral piece in driving broader financial inclusion,” Ramachandran said.

“Digital payment methods for public transport plays a key role in supporting underbanked and unbanked individuals, for which public transport remains a necessity for commutes to work or to school.”