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NYC, New Jersey experiment with iPhone transpo payments

updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu September 23, 2010

Removes need for separate cards

New York City Transit, New Jersey Transit and the Port Authorities of both New Jersey and New York have begun a phone-based payment program, run in cooperation with Visa. The pilot initiative allows people with Visa payWave-equipped smartphones -- including iPhones -- to wave them in front of a special reader in order to pay for a bus, subway or train ride. Normally, people would have to buy and refill separate cards for similar convenience.

A special sensor is required for the reader to recognize a phone, and within the New York subway system, only 28 stops along the Lexington line are currently payWave-ready. Other deployments of the technology are occurring in London, Paris, Istanbul, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Apple has the explored the concept on its own, submitting various patents hinting at the prospect of iPhones with built-in payment functions.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Thomas

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Ok so how is this working now?

    Did Apple secretly add a special chip that no one found or is this transmitting over 3G, wifi, or Bluetooth?
    My guess is the latter which means someone can pick up the signal as well if they are at least 15-30 feet away

    Or can this app reduce transmit power so it only reaches a foot or less when in use?

    The only safe part I see is that the app has to be running to transmit. Other then that it may be open for snooping when in use?

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    a special case

    it's pretty much a hack. you have to use a special case:

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In Japan

    You can pay for everything in Japan with your cell phone just like this. Food, travel, etc and you never need to get your credit cards out of your wallet. The only concerns I have is who gets to know your purchase habits, and how easy is it to turn off if your cell is stolen.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: In Japan

    The only concerns I have is who gets to know your purchase habits,

    You mean besides all the people who get to know your purchase habits from using credit cards?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    it's pretty much a hack. you have to use a special case:

    Wow, that is so much easier than just taking your trip card and sticking it in your phone case under the phone.

    And the only reason you need the cell phone is to provide power to the chip, apparently.

  1. Fast iBook

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Second attempt to reach you :p

    Dunno what happened to my post, never showed up, will try again now...

    Nj transit and mta and the port authority (it's the port authority of new York and new jersey or "panynj", one entity not 2) overlap in some key areas. Having this would be useful in creating a boston to DC transit network that all accepts the same fare paying method (phone tap). Currently there are various agency specific passes and tickets, the metrocard is used on the Roosevelt island tramway, path, mta bus and mta subway, path is run by the port authority (port authority trans-Hudson) the tramway is run by the RIOC. Nj transit connects and overlaps with PATH at several key locations, the nj transit part being above ground, and in NYC, PATH also has stops that coincide wtb subway stops, from christopher street to 33rd street, and at the world trade center. the PA also runs several other things, the container and freight ports, cruise terminals, several large airports, and a ferry terminal. Nj transit has light rail and bus that this could work for, mta for subway and bus, not sure about the tramway.

    My only concern would be security. It's not dangerous in most parts of these areas, but it can get eh at night, and who wants to get mugged of their smartphone by someone doing gang initiation. Lose your phone and they get tons of free rides. If it works out in the pilot, it should be a free service with no extra charge on top of the fare.

    - A

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