Visa launches multi-modal transport card

Visa launches multi-modal transport card
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Pixabay
13 May, 2019

Visa users will soon be able to commute via various modes of transport by using a single card for all payments.

The payments technology company said in a statement that the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), conceived by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, is an interoperable transport card that can be used across all transit segments including but not limited to bus, suburban railways and metro trains.

“With the transit sector expected to expand with numerous upcoming metro and smart city projects, NCMC contactless cards will trigger rapid adoption of digital payments across transit use cases,” said TR Ramachandran, Visa’s group country manager for India and South Asia. “We have seen transit as a gateway category that drives adoption of digital payments in the global economy.”

The contactless cards can merely be tapped on point-of-sale machines to pay the commuting fee. This feature provides a card balance for offline usage at transit venues and it will allow cardholders to store their transit passes on the card.

Visa says it provides for multiple ways to top-up the offline balance on the card. The cards, the statement said, will be accepted at participating public transport operators across India.  

The NCMC platform was launched this March by the central government. The platform, which was conceptualized in 2006 under the National Urban Transport Policy, was initially only available to RuPay users. Visa had earlier complained to the US government in 2018 regarding India’s protectionist measures to promote its domestic card scheme RuPay. In January this year, the RBI had invited responses after floating a policy paper aimed at encouraging the development of a pan-India payments system.  

The NCMC can be issued as a credit, debit or prepaid card from partner banks. A report in The Hindu suggests that Mumbai may be the first city to roll out the NCMC. The company said Visa contactless cards across the world also support account-based ticketing models. This means consumers can ride with their existing Visa contactless cards.

The payments facilitator said it plans to work closely with the Indian government, banks and travel operators to ensure expediency in rollout and acceptance of the cards. “With our contactless card solutions, we are committed to the government’s vision of being able to use a single card for transit, which would be a key enabler for our nation to move towards a ‘less-cash’ society,” said Ramachandran.