In the next few years, we will work hard to promote new payment methods in public transportation under the name of OVpay. The OV chip card will be updated, and you can also use your contactless bank card, credit card, mobile phone or wearable device to pay in public transportation across the country. We will do this in the Netherlands because we will do a good job: by working together to find innovative solutions.
About 10 years ago, we worked with banks across the country to make contactless payments possible. By focusing on the Dutch market, we were able to take a big step forward. This will also make other forms of contactless payments a reality. In the Netherlands, in recent years, you have been able to purchase a single ticket for a bus in a contactless manner. We are now trying to find a way to make all forms of public transportation possible in the Netherlands.
With the OV chip card, we already have a unique solution for public transportation payments in the Netherlands. But the current OV chip card technology is outdated. In order to provide travelers with the greatest travel and payment convenience, new payment methods are being added. OVpay is a more user-friendly payment solution for all transportation companies in the Netherlands and for all forms of public transportation. To this end, the transportation company cooperates with Translink (the company that processes OV chip card payments), suppliers, financial departments, infrastructure and water management departments, and passengers and interest groups.
Many cities around the world are migrating to contactless payment in public transportation. As a payment technology partner, we have been deeply involved in more than 100 such implementations in London, Milan, Brussels, Madrid and Sydney. Although more and more cities around the world are beginning to adopt contactless payment on public transportation, the Netherlands is expected to become the first country in the world where all forms of transportation will migrate together on a contactless payment infrastructure.
In 2019, we started piloting on the NS route Leiden-The Hague CS. Thousands of users are allowed to pay with debit or credit cards instead of using public transportation cards to check in to see if this applies to the current IT infrastructure. The second pilot was launched on the Arriva city bus in Lelystad in March 2021. Bus passengers can use contactless debit or credit cards from ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank, SNS, ASN Bank and ICS to check in and board the flight. For smartphones or wearable devices, travelers may also have linked to one of the payment cards for contactless payment.
In cooperation with relevant banks, ICS, Mastercard, Visa, Dutch Payment Association, Translink, Arriva and other public transportation companies, the trial was conducted in Lelystad, which is a pioneer in the promotion of OVpay across the country. In order to introduce OVpay across the country, all public transportation companies and Translink need to make large-scale adjustments. For example, only more than 60,000 card readers must be replaced or adapted to new technologies. Because there are multiple operators and regions, the introduction is step by step. The new public transportation payment method will be introduced in phases between 2021 and 2023. When everything goes smoothly and simply and we can start traveling again, it will be introduced across the country.
In the current mode, users are charged once a day. All their transportation actions for the day are added together. Using the code, they can view the travel cost of each route online. One advantage for consumers is that, for example, in the future we will also be able to provide options that do not have to pay more than the price of a one-day ticket. Later, we will also look into the option of using a debit card for discounts or subscription travel. The (new) OV-chipkaart will continue to exist, so it is still possible to travel anonymously.
The new technology after corona will also benefit the tourism industry. You can reach the country more easily than ever. Ticket vending machines are no longer stressful or confusing for travel, but have reliable passes from bus to tram, from train to subway. It will take some time, but if we are allowed to go there later, you don’t have to worry about how to pay for the trip.
Through this unique step, the Netherlands will become the first country in the world where debit or credit cards can be used for check-in and boarding procedures at all different carriers in the country.
About the Author: Jan-Willem van der Schoot is the national / regional manager MasterCard Netherlands