In my experience in the United States, it is extremely rare to find transit systems (especially buses) that accept credit card payments. For example, you cannot simply board a bus with a credit card and pay your fare. Instead (unless you pay in cash), you usually have to load some type of fare card or application with money, or pay your fare at a ticket vending machine at a main station. Why do transit vehicles generally not accept payments by credit / debit card on board?
Here are some ideas and possible rebuttals. Feel free to choose my refutations separately:
- There would be no demand for this service. This seems unlikely because credit / debit card payments would open traffic to many more people: occasional passengers. At this time, it is often quite complicated to obtain a transit card (you must find the appropriate pharmacy or complete an online form and wait for it to arrive by mail). In addition, many people rarely or never carry cash. This means that riding the bus can be complicated! If I'm in a new place, I don't want to have to jump through the obstacles to find a specific bank or pharmacy, so I usually only take shared transport services, although I prefer not to! Apparently, opening credit / debit card payments would help solve this problem. In addition, in the USA. UU. Rich people tend not to ride the bus, and I'm willing to bet that at least a small part of that is because rich people don't want / don't want to carry cash or deal with a fare card. Flexibility is freedom in transit, and being able to pay by card would mean more freedom and, therefore, possibly a greater number of passengers and a virtuous cycle for transit companies.
- The merchant's fees are too expensive. Credit card companies charge commercial fees for each transaction, and I understand that the rates are higher as a proportion of the charge for smaller transactions. In fact, this seems to have a huge negative impact on the economic viability of offering card payments on buses. That said, I do not buy this argument: first, the United Kingdom (and possibly others, please inform me) offer this service. I left Glasgow airport and headed straight for the bus, paid with Apple Pay, and was on my way. Very easy! If it's viable for them, why wouldn't it be viable here? In addition, other small transactions (think of vending machines) accept card payments. Also, if it really is a problem with commercial fees, would credit card companies not be eager to work with major transit agencies to reach an agreement? That would be a lot of transactions, even if they didn't earn so much money in each.
- Providing this service on a moving bus is technically a challenge. That can't be: all major US airlines. UU. They offer credit card payments during the flight! Setting up the bus system cannot be more difficult than that …
- Credit / debit card payments are too slow. While it is true that chip reader transactions in the United States are still Annoyingly slow, I doubt this is the reason why the magnetic strips were faster, and we had no credit card readers on the buses when the magnetic strips reigned supremely.