Global urban mobility is essential to build financial inclusion in the cities of tomorrow


For hundreds of years, cities have attracted people with the promise of building better lives. The density of urban populations guaranteed access to more economic and social opportunities, which only increased with the development of public transport systems. People could travel quickly from one part of the city to another in search of better education, employment, health care or entertainment.

While all of this will likely hold true in cities of the future, public transit can also play a new role in helping to create greater social equity.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, a third of the world’s population has no connection with secure banking services. Getting more people into the financial system is a major goal for world leaders and the development community.

Providing people with access to bank accounts and new payment options can open the door to improving their quality of life. “Financial inclusion starts with payments,” says the World Bank’s Payments and Market Infrastructure Committee. “They serve as a gateway to other financial services, such as savings, credit and insurance.”

Access to more payment options supports financial inclusion

In recent years, many cities around the world have introduced unbanked or underbanked residents to financial services through another payments ecosystem they are already familiar with: transit payments.

For example, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Visa participated in a project to use open-loop prepaid Visa cards to help unbanked people use public transportation. The project distributed 5,000 prepaid cards to people near four bus stations in a university town to familiarize users with the system and provide them with an entry point to financial institutions. “Our Visa prepaid cards issued in Ho Chi Min City have enabled many unbanked passengers to take their first step towards digital payments while reducing the cost of ticketing and increasing the number of passengers,” said Ho Phan Hai Trieu, Deputy Managing Director of VietBank.

In another part of the world, Cash App and Visa are working with transit agencies in cities in California, including Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) and Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT), to offer the “Cash Card” as way for passengers to pay for bus and light rail tickets. For passengers who do not have a bank card, the Cash Card is a free, customizable and contactless Visa debit card offered via the Cash App, which allows passengers to easily pay for their journeys. The Cash Card also has a rewards program called Boost which offers instant discounts at select retailers. Customers can also deposit paper money into their Cash App accounts at participating outlets.

Additionally, working with partners such as Visa and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), MST has instituted a fare cap on its bus fleet, ensuring that passengers will not pay more than a specified limit per day, no matter how many times they roll. allowing passengers to forgo prepayment for one month of journeys in order to obtain the best rate.

“As a transportation service that provides mobility for all, transit agencies have a responsibility to serve every Californian,” said Gillian Gillett, California Integrated Mobility Program Manager at the California Department of Transportation. “Access to reliable and affordable transport is essential to tackle poverty, unemployment, health and well-being, education and other pressing social issues. Contactless transport payments, which we help fuel through our work with partners like Visa and others, are key to making public transport easy to use and cost effective, allowing public transport to play an important role. in the mobility of all members of the community, especially those who are most vulnerable. “

Other cities in the United States, including New York, Portland, Dallas, and Santa Barbara, have introduced contactless payment options on their transit systems, giving everyone more options for paying their fares.

Smart pricing options improve fairness

By design, open-loop, contactless payment systems are simple for passengers and offer passengers the flexibility to use the payment method they already prefer in their daily lives.

Anything that acts as a barrier to using public transport networks, including cost or complexity, can deprive people of their rights and hamper the development of prosperous cities. This is one of the reasons why hundreds of transport agencies around the world are implementing open-loop, contactless payments.

visas Mobility and Transport Transaction Model (MTT), is the key to bringing this to life. MTT is a global standard, allowing operators to offer a range of flexible tariffs, including fixed tariffs, distance and time-based tariffs, multimodal tariffs, and features such as price caps. The MTT model goes beyond providing a fast and convenient experience for the passenger, as it also offers efficient fare collection for the operator.

The smart cities of tomorrow will optimize public transit to move people efficiently and engage all residents in economic opportunity. Digital payment options that help reduce barriers to accessing transportation systems are people-friendly innovations. They make transport easier and more enjoyable to use, provide more accessible mobility for all users and help improve ridership in all demographic groups. Equity and financial inclusion are increased by giving passengers more options in the way they wish to pay, without the need for a specific card or app to travel and by allowing passengers to use this. that suits them best.


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