Interac Debit payments are one more addition to the suite of available payment options for TransLink customers.  -  Photo: Interac

Interac Debit payments are one more addition to the suite of available payment options for TransLink customers.

Photo: Interac

TransLink announced its customers can now pay for transit using Interac Debit on every bus and at every fare gate throughout Metro Vancouver. 

This makes TransLink the first transit agency in Canada to fully integrate contactless Interac Debit payments system-wide, according to the agency’s news release.

“We’re focused on making transit more convenient for customers and this upgrade will particularly benefit those who may not have easy access to a credit card,” said Kevin Quinn, CEO of TransLink. “We were the first transit agency in the country to implement contactless credit card payments, and we’re proud to be the first transit system in Canada to implement contactless Interac Debit payments system-wide as well.”

As part of TransLink’s Customer Experience Action Plan, TransLink, Interac, Moneris, and Cubic Transportation Systems upgraded more than 5,000 Compass Readers throughout TransLink’s system to make transit payments more convenient. 

Matt Newsome, sr. VP and GM at Cubic, said it took approximately one year for these four partners to make contactless debit aboard transit a reality.

“The addition of Interac Flash to TransLink’s ‘Tap to Pay’ program is a big step forward in contactless innovation and optimizing fare collection practices for transit agencies,” Newsome said.

The upgrade allows customers to board transit by using Interac Debit with physical cards or through smartphone digital wallets. This allows customers to pay for transit without having to use an in-station Compass Vending Machine or having to pre-load a Compass product with stored value.

Interac Debit payments are one more addition to the suite of available payment options for TransLink customers. Transit users can also pay with contactless credit cards, digital wallets, Compass Cards, Compass Wristbands, and Compass Minis. 

“A diverse set of payment options enable Metro Vancouver transit riders to bring and pay with the credential that best suits their needs, further enabling frictionless travel,” Newsome said.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for faster adoption of contactless payments, according to Newsome.

“Contactless payments mean fewer physical touchpoints with less exposure to surfaces such as payment terminals,” Newsome said.

A recent Interac Canada-wide survey about fare payments provided the following results:

  • 66% see debit as a convenient way to pay for transit.
  • 64% claimed that tap payments would save time when paying fares.
  • 56% would be interested in using debit or credit cards to pay for their trips if they had the option.
  • 69% believe it would be easier for visitors to pay for transit using their bank card as opposed to tickets, tokens, or passes.

Newsome addressed the survey results, saying time is a factor in accepting Interac Flash.

“Acceptance of Interac Flash aboard buses and at station gates saves transit riders time by enabling them to bypass queues at ticketing vending machines and proceed directly to a point of fare validation,” he added.

As Cubic and TransLink propel themselves more into the future of transit payments, Newsome acknowledged data privacy.

“Cubic takes data privacy seriously. Our technology stack, which facilitates contactless credit and debit acceptance, includes embedded tokenization and verification services to protect against fraud and data breaches,” Newsome said. “Every time a contactless credit or debit card is tapped on a Cubic provided system, it is tokenized to protect credit card information and user privacy.”

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