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Taxi apps join forces to provide improved payment experience for users

The new payment system allows customers to use either app to pay cab fares via mobile devices in every one of New York City’s 20,000 yellow and green taxis. Previous versions of the apps were limited to cabs using either Creative Mobile Technologies’ or VeriFone’s in-vehicle payment systems, but latest versions enable consumers to use either app and get into any cab, regardless of which system it uses.

“The benefit to consumers is for any taxi you hail, you are able to pay for the ride automatically, pre-set the tip, have the receipt delivered electronically, and find property left in taxi,” said Jason Gross, vice president of strategy and marketing for VeriFone. “If you have a phone and have the latest version of either app, you can get a ride.”

Efficient payments
Because the apps now work in any New York City taxi with CMT’s or VeriFone’s payment technology, they aim to provide the highest level of convenience for users. Established by experts using credit card technology, the goal is to eliminate scrambling for credit cards in pockets and provide customers with a time-efficient process of payment.

Way2ride was built on an open API cloud platform to ensure the app would contain secure payments and messaging. The open platform enables integration with other networks and further progress with commerce enablement solutions.

Customers may load several credit cards into their account for flexibility. With the apps’ new features, they can also eliminate keeping paper receipts and simply view their ride histories and payment information on their smartphones.

The apps claim that taxi drivers also benefit from their services. Faster transactions allow them to return to the roads more quickly, therefore allow more time for potential additional rides.

“I definitely think customers who are aware of the option will take advantage of it,” said Nathalie Reinelt, analyst at Aite Group. “The fundamental premise of taxi travel is speed and convenience, and anything that will enable travelers to transact faster will be appealing.

“The success of these individual apps will largely depend on how well they educate consumers on their existence.”

National potential
Creative Mobile Technologies and VeriFone have similar payment systems in taxis across the nation, and have future plans to bring their apps’ functionality to other major cities. The Way2ride payment app launched in Philadelphia this summer.

VeriFone is also close to launching the pilot program of hailing functionality in Way2ride.

With other apps such as Uber and HotelTonight offering quick booking and payment options for services, it makes sense for the automotive industry to take heed and foray into mobile payments, which are becoming increasingly more commonplace.

However, although many services can benefit from mobile payment strategies, merchants must remember that higher transaction fees will be present, per Ms. Reinelt. They also must decide the best scanning technology to invest in that will be compatible with their point-of-sale systems.

“VeriFone is a payment provider looking for all forms of interaction between consumers and payment devices,” said Mr. Gross. “Consumers get the simplicity of a mobile payment with whatever partner wants to work with us.

“We are enabling merchants such as taxi drivers and owners to provide the best level of service to consumers.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York