back to article Visa looks at NYC wave-pay trial, says 'I wanna be a part of it'

Visa is joining MasterCard in testing proximity payments systems on the New York City Subway, providing pay-at-turnstile functionality, rather than the stored-credit kind used elsewhere. Reuters tells us that Visa will be joining the trial, which already enables New Yorkers to buy some subway tickets with PayPass cards (from …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    "docked a fiver"?

    It's seven quid now: - it gets docked when you enter, and the difference is refunded when you exit.

    Oyster fares started out quite simple, but they are now truly mind-boggling (thanks, Ken and Boris)

    But hang on, that's not complicated enough. There are separate fares for Oyster journeys on National Rail, and also for Oyster journeys which are part Tube, part National Rail. See

    And if that's not enough, try understanding Oyster Extension Permits.

    1. Dale 3

      Oyster touch-out time limit

      Also, there is a little known time limit after touching in, after which the system assumes you forgot to touch out. If you do remember to touch out but only after the time limit it treats that as a separate touch-in event, for which you almost certainly won't know to touch out again. So they get you for £10 for a single trip. Neat, huh?

      But try to find out about this on the TfL/Oyster website. It's not there. The only reference I found, when I got caught like this, was buried in the answer to a FAQ.

      The time limit, btw, was 2 hours although it might have changed since National Rail was added to the system. They do claim to relax the limit when there are known delays on the network.

  2. Tom Chiverton 1


    So, increase in pick pocketing, aided by being able to quickly escape on the metro at no cost ? Not good...

  3. Stuart Abbott

    Not all mass transit related to sea life!

    The Tokyo JR system has used the SUICA card for about 9 years and is a pun on melon.

    It does use a penguin for its mascot though which is pretty close to sea life!

  4. Will 28

    I can just see this going wrong.

    A lot of people with oyster cards just touch their whole wallet to the machine. If you have mastercard and visa, who takes the payment?

    Yes, it's their fault, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Security issues aside what bothers me is the fact that with pre-pay season tickets you pay once and the price is fixed there and then, you don't pat anymore no matter how many journeys or what time. With these new pay-as-you-ride type systems, tapped direct from your credit card, they can change the price at will on any given day. Granted there will be less confusion over which ticket is right at what time of the day or week, but somehow knowing most greedy companies, this will be a perfect excuse to up the prices when they feel like it and you might not know until the bill arrives at the end of the month.

  6. rpjs

    Correct me if I'm wrong

    Bu the NYC subway has a flat fare of $2 for any distance travelled, so all you need to do is guard entry into the system. The Tube has fares tiered by zones travelled, which is why you need to touch out on exit to ensure the correct fare has been levied. When you enter you are automatically charged the maximum-possible £5 fare and are refunded the difference between that and the fare you actually travelled when you touch out.

    So it's a lot easier to implement the tech described in the NYC system than it would be in London.

    Of course, it does beg the question wouldn't it have been cheaper in the long run for London to have gone flat fare and save having to have all the kit for exit checks and, as you point out, Oyster cards at all.

  7. skellious

    what does the Reg have against sea-life?

    Every article on oyster and related payment systems seems to zero-in on the name. Yes, it's interesting they are all called aquatic names but why the obcession?

  8. Britt Johnston

    cryptic cross word

    <aquatically-branded>...ah, I get it, watermark, clever.

    On reading further it seems to be talking about Oyster, being some local scam occuring south of Watford. Do they rip off visitors too?

  9. Linbox

    NYC Subway fares

    It's currently $2.25 per journey and set to rise. Pre-paid cards over $8 get a 15% bonus, bringing the cost per journey down to $1.95.

    It should be remembered that it's not a simple pay once, unlimited travel system - if you go on a longer journey that requires a change of line (think: hoping from Northern to Piccadilly lines), you mostly have to leave one subway and then enter another, paying again for the second trip.

    You can also get 1,7,14 and 30 day unlimited travel cards which work out at as little as $2.97 per DAY, regardless of journeys and switches (the cards also work on local buses).

    Oh. And then there's the PATH. That's only $1.75 per ride, with all the 15% discount on Metrocards over $8.

  10. collateral damage

    this is a title

    "Removing the third party makes complete sense for the credit card companies, who will now know how you got to the shops as well as what you bought there..."

    Errr, no! The credit card companies don't know what you have bought, all they get is the total amount and not a breakdown or product list (this data remains with the store). Ok, the shop name might give a clue. £ 100 spend at Porn Paradise or £ 100 spend at Marks & Spencer - which one will be regarded as more out of the ordinary?

  11. dreamingspire
    Thumb Up

    Not much news there

    Soon after the original Mastercard Paypass trial got started, the MTA and MC started saying that the full scheme will accept contactless payment cards from all banks as long as they conform to the industry spec. So all that is announced here is the passing of a milestone. Yes, the back office system has needed a lot of development, because, as usual with these trials, the initial installation isn't what you end up with in the end. Think Swindon Mondex and current full spec Mondex in use in several parts of the world - considerably different.

  12. david 12 Silver badge


    Analysis of the MiKi system in Melb, Australia, would be welcome. Now massively over budget, and massively behind time, it is slowly coming into use - but without any public analysis of the technology, and no discussion of who owns the system, or how they hope to compete with the credit card companies -- which are just making now advertising in AUS their own wave-pay systems.

  13. Simon Rockman

    It's what the transport companies want.

    They don't want to run complex billing mechanisms, a move to traditional credit cards (EMV) means someone else has the hassle, and is an objective for many around the world.

    In Hong Kong the metro system cards are called Octopus, but I guess you knew that given the sealife references.

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