Back

Contactless Wave: EMV Payment System Finds Its Moment among Transit Agencies

Telexis is an innovative and pragmatic company that provides scalable solutions based on the latest cutting-edge e-ticketing technologies mainly focusing on retailing of e-tickets in the public transport sector as well as solutions that enable commuters to check in and out of public transport facilities. Recently, Transdev Netherlands and Telexis announced the launch of contactless EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®) payment within Transdev’s operations in the Netherlands. Being a long-term partner on building other solutions for Telexis, HTEC Group joined forces with them to help build this payment system that would allow transit passengers to pay their transit fare using contactless debit cards, credit cards and mobile phones.

Challenge

Ticketing payment options have evolved in line with customer expectation, especially in the post-pandemic era. Having built so many innovative solutions such as a cashless payment system that enabled passengers to buy tickets cashless which further decreased both accounting time and maintenance costs, Telexis was now looking for a way to bring customer experience to even a higher level.

They realized that people, especially tourists, have to face common issues of having to pay for the production of regular cards and then dispose of them once they leave the country. As a result, this creates plastic waste that has an adverse impact on the environment. Also, due to the pandemic, riders’ demands for more hygienic paying options are constantly on the rise. On top of this, the complexity of transit ticketing and fare payments as well as the expense of cash handling and issues of closed loop smart cards have all been recognized as major barriers to public transit use and seamless customer experience. 

So, they came up with an idea to build contactless EMV payment that would enable pay-as-you-go travel rather than pre-paid period passes. The intention was to use the existing card validators on the buses to validate contactless debit cards and credit cards or simply use their phones to pay for their ticket, regardless of what public means of transport they use, bus, tram, train, boat, or metro.

This way they would not have to produce new cards  or chips and allow much easier and faster fare payment and customer satisfaction. One of the challenges HTEC team faced when building the solution was a large volume of validators in public transport vehicles that essentially do not provide a security layer efficient enough for bank transactions — in other words, implementing the EMV solution for transit operators can be more complex than in retail environments. In addition to strict certification and compliance targets that support secure and accurate transactions, there are many components that need to work seamlessly for a good passenger experience, including validators, software and back-end processing systems.

HTEC team’s mission was to build a software that will enhance the security of the hardware so that it can process contactless bank cards and charge a travel fare. The biggest challenge here was to obtain all the necessary certificates that would allow travel agencies to use these validators. Besides the fact that we had to obtain all the certificates that are also used for payment terminals in a retail environment, we also had to face another challenge — buses are constantly on the move which requires a constant and strong Internet connection and power. So we had to make sure we overcome all the challenges and connect all the pieces together into one coherent solution. 


“The most challenging and amazing part of the project was to include Europay, Mastercard, and Visa ticketing, to create direct relations between passengers and banks, which helped us to speed up and ease the usage of the transportation ticketing system for all stakeholders: passengers, public transports, and banks.” — Marko Grumic, Delivery Lead, Embedded Software Engineer

Solution

HTEC Group has built software that turns a validator in a vehicle into a payment terminal that passengers normally encounter in a random supermarket. This software needed to fulfill a specific set of conditions — we had to obtain specific certification, it needed to be PCI compliant, validated as secure and not susceptible to cyber attacks. An EMV kernel was used for Mastercard/Maestro payments and Visa/VPay payments. This kernel was already EMV L2 certified. The validation of the complete chain was performed as part of an EMV L3 certification test, where the complete chain (from payment terminal to the acquiring bank) was tested. To make things even more complex, this was the first time we had to build software that had to ensure secure money transactions that were directly connected to passengers’ bank accounts. 

We also had to do the integration with the backend system which does both decryption and encryption as well as integration with the central bank of the Netherlands. While the core of the solution is in validators which do data processing and cryptography, a part of the solution includes a back office system which is located in the Cloud which performs the analysis of those transactions and is connected with the central bank of the Netherlands to provide it with the right data. What’s more, this system identifies if a passenger’s card has expired, got lost or is simply out of use so that it can disable them from using the card in public transport. 

Ticket reading is fast, providing clear visual indications when cards and tickets have been successfully read. As a result, instead of standing in line to buy payment cards or feeding bills into fareboxes or, riders can now easily and quickly use their visa credit cards, VPay debit cards, Mastercard credit cards and Maestro debit cards (physical or emulated on a mobile device) to pay for their contactless transit fare. This means that passenger throughput is maximised for a great user experience and reduced operational costs. 


“The cooperation with Telexis has been going on for years and we have gone through a lot of challenging situations together, so we always have the impression that we work in the same company. We are friends with many of them and see each other privately when we go to Netherlands." — Igor Lalic, Technical Lead at HTEC Group 

Success

Recently, Enghouse Telexis and Transdev Netherlands, one of the biggest mobility companies in the Netherlands, announced the launch of contactless EMV payment within Transdev’s operations in the Netherlands. After our successful pilot, the national program of the Dutch transit vertical announced that all the passengers in the entire G&V region can, from now on, pay with their contactless debit-/credit cards (as well as with SmartPhone and SmartWatch with EMV payment app) for their travel fare in all the Transdev’s vehicles. Their plan is to extend their EMV solution to the other Transdev’s regions (which is around 60% of the Dutch transit market covered by our software), by mid-2022.

Read more about it here

HTEC Group helped Telexis build a contactless transit payment system which creates compelling customer experience, reduces cost of ticket management and cash handling, speeds up boarding and reduces dwell times, enhances public health safety (especially now during the pandemic and in the post-pandemic era) and finally decreases waste and environment pollution. On top of this, it represents quite a convenient payment technique as most people have bank cards, so why not use them.   

Currently, our contactless EMV payment system has found its moment in three transit agencies in the Netherlands and it is definitely the industry’s wave of the future. There’s never been greater potential for transit agencies to collaborate and work toward interoperability. With the right support from sector-specific expertise, the future of data-led, rider-centric transit and mobility services looks bright. 

Long term cooperation with Telexis resulted in excellent domain knowledge in the Public Transportation field, also few team members were interested in IT security which benefited us during EMV integration. Being a part of a broad suite of automated fare collection solutions is a great experience. It is a type of work with a constant desire to improve and grow. Our main goal was to enhance public transportation in the Netherlands, we are constantly growing and increasing our scope.” — Marko Grumic, Delivery Lead, Embedded Software Engineer


"Excellent cooperation has also been achieved with their customers through field installations and support. We are glad when we go to the Netherlands and recognize our product in every vehicle, and then we use the opportunity to test something live in production." — Igor Lalic, Technical Lead at HTEC Group