Transit Payments – Single Account Concept

This is the fourth article in the Transit Payments series.  So far  I have covered 10 key questions, the challenges associated with processing tPANs, and the workings of aggregated transactions.  In this fourth installment I build on these learnings and hone in on the importance of a single account in the transit environment.

Power of Single Account

The importance of one account cannot be underestimated in Transit.  Transit is made up of varying fare structures with concession-based cards, peak and off-peak fares, daily and weekly capping, rewards, and transfers to name a few.  With customers increasingly carrying several different payment cards, they may miss out on rewards by not being identified as the same customer.  Compounding the issue, Payment cards held on a mobile device may use a token known as a device PAN (dPAN) which means that the physical plastic will appear a different account to the mobile device.

Who Benefits

The concept of supporting a single account requires both the Transit Provider to support and the customer to register their payment cards under a single account.  Why should they bother?

  • As a customer:
    • You may use a number of different payment cards and instruments and would like to claim journey rewards without having to commit to memory which card and form factor you recently used.
    • You can report and claim fares from a single account
    • You can identify your account as a concession holder if applicable to receive the appropriate fare structure.
  • As a Transit Provider:
    • Apply Customer identification at the account level
    • Forecast customer travel habits and plan accordingly
    • Provide interfaces to support customer self-service
  • Transit Industry as a whole:
    • There are many potential benefits if customers have access to a single payment account and method of identification across different transit modes. It could underpin the enablement of smart transit cities and mass transit options if interoperability is achieved across both public and private modes. This can lead to faster and more economical outcomes for commuters and planning authorities.


A single account may be the enabler that consolidates seamless access between different transit services and service providers if data can be aggregated and shared.

The movement to smarter cities hinges on being able to utilise and integrate services that complement traditional public transit services.  This includes the differing transport modes such as private transit operators, taxi’s and ride, car and bike sharing services.  It also includes services provided by complimentary providers in areas such as tolling, journey planning and congestion management services.

If C Smart International can assist with your next Transit Project  please contact us today