Canada: Interac Debit Contactless Payments Now Being Accepted on UP Express via Pilot led by Metrolinx

Interac Debit is now accepted as a contactless payment option on UP Express via a pilot led by Metrolinx on the PRESTO fare payment system.

This option will allow UP Express riders to buy their transit fare by simply tapping their physical Interac debit card or a card added to a mobile wallet “directly on a fare machine,” according to a release.

This is reportedly the first time a transit agency in Canada is providing Interac Debit as a contactless payment option, “giving transit riders convenient access without needing to purchase separate tickets or passes.”

William Keliehor, Chief Commercial Officer, Interac Corp., stated:

“When transit authorities add Interac Debit they are offering their riders a form of payment that almost 30 million Canadians already use for day-to-day purchases. Introducing payment options such as Interac Debit contactless payments on public transit is one of the ways in which transit agencies can help with the responsible recovery of transit networks – and cities – from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A 2020 Interac survey carried out prior to the COVID-19 pandemic revealed that almost seven in 10 (69%) transit riders surveyed would be “likely to use ‘open payments’, which remove the need to purchase dedicated passes and tickets and make paying for transit as simple as paying for daily essentials.”

Interac Debit is reportedly one of the most “prevalent forms of payment” in Canada — 94% of Canadian adults have a debit card — which gives it the potential to be “widely adopted as a preferred method of payment for Canadians when utilizing open payment capabilities in future,” the update noted.

Barclay Hancock, Chief Payments Officer, Metrolinx, remarked:

“Earlier this year, we launched a pilot on UP Express to allow transit riders to pay their fare with their credit cards, modernizing the PRESTO payment experience. We’re thrilled to now be adding Interac Debit to this pilot, providing even more choice and convenience for customers and marking a first for a transit authority in Canada.”

Andrew Yablonovsky, Associate Vice-President, Portfolio Strategy & Growth, Interac Corp., added:

“More and more Canadians want a future where they can purchase their public transit fares through an open payment system. Having the ability to utilize their Interac debit card gives transit users the varied payment options they are seeking. We see debit usage continuing to grow as transit authorities across Canada begin to adopt this open payment system.”

This pilot will be followed by the expansion of Interac Debit contactless payments to other transit agencies on the PRESTO network.

Interac remains focused on working cooperatively with transit authorities and other mobility service providers in Canada to “enable Interac Debit contactless as a form of payment.”

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