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Visa Program Lets You Buy Transit Tickets with Your Smartphone

new york city subway
In June, MasterCard announced plans to begin testing a smartphone payment system for mass transit commuters in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. Now, the credit card company is reportedly allowing nemesis Visa into the venture, as well.

As Reuters reports, the joint program will allow commuters to wave their credit or debit cards over electronic readers to purchase tickets, in lieu of buying transit passes the old-fashioned way. Alternatively, program participants can choose to attach a special sticker to the back of their smartphones, which, when waved over the same electronic turnstile readers, can automatically purchase tickets. The company is also expected to announce a similar program for the roughly three people who actually use mass transit in Los Angeles. There, participants will be able to use special debit cards to purchase retail goods, as well as transit tickets.

This isn't, of course, Visa's first move into the realm of mobile payments. In August, the company announced a joint venture with Bank of America to test contactless payments in specific New York-area retailers. On Monday, Bank of America spokeswoman Tara Burke confirmed that her bank's chip-embedded smartphones "can be used for contactless payments on mass transit," as well. It remains to be seen whether or not consumers actually like the idea of using their smartphones as wallets, but Visa, at least, seems to be confident that many will.

Tags: creditcards, LosAngeles, MassTransit, mastercard, MobilePayments, money, NewJersey, NewYork, NewYorkCity, smartphone, transportation, Visa