Apple Pay turns two years old this month, and Apple is still searching for ways to increase usage of its contactless payments system. Recently, the solution has begun to find a home with public transit systems.
Apple is also ramping up its services. This month, commuters in Japan will be able to use Apple Pay to buy railway tickets, which could prove to be a huge opportunity for Apple. Operator East Japan Railway Co. alone served 17.4 million passengers a day in the year that ended in March, and Apple has added special chips to its iPhones to support the service. Apple Pay already works on the London Underground, buses and other forms of transit there.
Just last week, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority added Apple Pay as a payments option for fares and passes. To purchase a ticket in the MTA eTix app using Apple Pay, a customer simply selects the ticket or pass they’d like to purchase, then selects the “Pay with Apple Pay” option, and confirms the payment via their iPhone’s Touch ID sensor.
Until recently Apple Pay’s most popular railroad connection was Transport for London, which runs the London Underground, as well as other systems in England’s capital city. Riders there can simply pay at the gate using Apple Pay in the same manner they do at a checkout counter, or a soda machine. (Tap and go.)
Apple’s interest in partnering with more transit companies is locomoted by the millions upon millions of riders the various transit systems serve worldwide each day. Even a small sliver of the transit payments action would add up to a nice piece of change rolling into the company’s coffers.