gain traction, with a growing number of retailers signing up to the
technology, along with trials rolled out across the London public
transport network and in London taxi cabs.
Now, in the first significant expansion of contactless payment
outside of the UK capital, MasterCard, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)
and transport operator Stagecoach are to bring MasterCard’s
contactless PayPass technology to Liverpool. The three companies
have announced a one-year trial of MasterCard and Maestro PayPass
on around 200 buses in Liverpool and the surrounding Merseyside
The planned rollout in the second quarter of 2009 will be the first
ever use of contactless bank card payments on public transport in
the UK, and the first significant extension of contactless payment
outside London for members of the general public.
PayPass transactions can be made for payments of £10 or less. The
use of PayPass on Stagecoach buses in Liverpool is being used to
gauge whether it can easily replace cash transactions, and
Stagecoach says that consumers will still continue to receive bus
tickets as proof of purchase.
Credit and debit contactless payment
In this trial, MasterCard PayPass will be linked directly to a
customer’s debit or credit card account, so payment is taken
automatically, distinguishing PayPass from smart card or prepaid
programmes for transport. Cardholders will also be able to use the
PayPass functionality in several shopping locations across
Liverpool to make small value payments.
In an effort to capitalise on Liverpool’s association with The
Beatles, the trial is being centred on the Penny Lane area of the
Tom Wileman, regional director of Stagecoach Merseyside, said:
“This new state-of-the-art system will make bus travel faster and
more convenient for thousands of people in Liverpool every day and
help attract car users to more sustainable public transport.
“Penny Lane was made famous by Liverpool’s favourite sons, The
Beatles, but today it takes on a whole new significance.
“Now the 200 Stagecoach buses on 11 different routes passing that
landmark location will no longer need customers to fumble around
for cash, but to simply ‘tap’ their PayPass debit or credit card to
travel across the city. The bus really is the greener and smarter
way to travel.”
Leigh Clapham, general manager of developed markets at MasterCard
Europe, said: “MasterCard is the global leader in contactless
“Together with RBS, we are combining that experience and market
innovation to extend ‘Tap & Go’ payments to people in the UK
outside London. Through our major successes in transit programmes
from New York to Taiwan, we understand that consumers demand fast
payment of transport fares to speed up their journey, while being
given the ability to select from all fare options available.
“By working closely with Stagecoach, who are equally passionate
about making customers’ lives easier, we can help Liverpool to
become the UK’s newest contactless city next year.”
PayPass gaining global momentum
Ron Kalifa, managing director, Global Merchant Services and
Commercial Cards, RBS, added: “It was an RBS card that made the
UK’s first contactless payment in McDonald’s during August last
“This year we launched a PayPass pilot to offer contactless
payments in a number of London black cabs. Now we are looking to
build on the investment already made to take transport applications
one step further.”
MasterCard is touting the strong momentum that PayPass is
continuing to build up worldwide, with nearly 37 million PayPass
cards and devices in issue globally as of the second quarter of
2008 which can be used at more than 122,000 merchant locations.
There are a number of PayPass trials and rollouts currently
underway in 24 countries.
In September, MasterCard announced the first transaction on a
MasterCard PayPass card in Russia, with a purchase made on a
PayPass card issued by Expobank, the Russian subsidiary of UK-based
The first Russian contactless MasterCard PayPass transaction was
handled by a Prime Star restaurant, part of the acquiring network
of Expobank. The bank announced plans to distribute 400 contactless
point of sale terminals at supermarkets, pharmacies, petroleum
stations and restaurants across Moscow.