Most of us are already used to buying clothes, food or films on the Internet with just a few clicks. However, this digitalization has only partially arrived in public transport. Conventional payment methods, such as buying from the bus driver, were - or are - not possible due to Covid-19 measures. Also, since the beginning of the pandemic, more and more people have been reluctant to buy tickets with cash or payment cards from vending machines; any unnecessary contact in public areas is to be avoided. However, smartphone use is clearly on the rise.
Mobile devices are already the central communication tool and also the access point to an increasing number of digital services - seven out of ten (66.9 percent) Austrians have bought a product online on their mobile phone this year, almost three quarters (74.4 percent) of 15-29 year olds have done so. There was also a boost in online banking solutions and other mobile payment options. As a catalyst, the pandemic has significantly accelerated the trend towards mobile payments in all aspects.
What can public transport companies learn from e-commerce?
Many industries - such as eCommerce - have been quick to respond, well aware that the user experience, user journey and payment process can be instrumental in driving sales and growth, but can also hinder it. And public transport can learn from this knowledge. After all, is it realistic and in line with the times for a transport company to expect passengers to invest several minutes in buying a ticket?
Public transport companies offer their passengers several payment options either online or directly at the POS. Payment at the driver's is uncomplicated for customers who carry cash, but it delays the onward journey and is currently not possible at all due to Corona.
Ticket vending machines are not a quick or user-friendly payment option for inexperienced occasional riders, especially as they are not available at every stop and not everyone wants to touch their keypads.
Public transport companies increasingly rely on one or even several individual app solutions and these are well received by local and regular passengers. However, payment options are often offered that represent an insurmountable hurdle, as not all Austrians have these payment methods at their disposal.
With a penetration rate of less than 47 percent, credit cards have a relatively low share in Austria, and alternative payment methods such as PayPal, with 1.4 million accounts, have an even lower reach. In comparison, the penetration rate of mobile phones is over 120 percent, which means that almost every person in Austria has at least one mobile phone - making mobile phones an ideal means of payment, even for minors and other people who do not have any of the above-mentioned payment methods.
Fast payment through "Zahlenperhandyrechnung"
"Zahlenperhandyrechnung" allows the payment of the ticket with just one click, the entire purchase process of a ticket is enabled in under five seconds..
The mobile payment enables a quick and easy payment, in the background an automatic check and authorization of the user takes place.
The payment process can be initiated either via a QR code attached to the stop or the ticket machine, or in the public transport app, both options link directly to the payment page. The mobile phone number is automatically determined by the mobile phone provider, customers are uniquely verified via the mobile phone number and the ticket purchase is confirmed with a simple click. The ticket is billed directly via the mobile phone bill; no registration or entry of sensitive information such as credit card data or account details is required. In addition, most reasons for cancelling a purchase are eliminated, such as complicated purchase processes due to redirects to third-party payment provider sites, errors during entry, no cash or faulty or non-existent machines.
A simple process for a successful purchase!
Payment with just one click - advantages for drivers and public transport operators
With just one click, the ticket price is billed via the mobile phone bill. The ticket purchase is completed in just a few seconds and is billed via the phone bill.
The familiar and trustworthy environment of mobile operators ensures a secure payment and a positive and secure purchase experience for users - without data entry and without being redirected to third-party payment service providers. The transport companies benefit from the resulting lower purchase cancellations and increased sales. The click on the purchase button triggers DIMOCO, in its function as payment institution and mobile transaction hub, to communicate with the mobile network operator of the mobile phone user, who checks the request and then adds the amount due to the mobile phone bill. If the check is successful, DIMOCO notifies the public transport company and the ticket can be displayed directly to the customer.
It is already a very popular alternative to credit cards, PayPal or online bank transfers for small payments in app stores, in-app purchases, parking tickets, snacks at vending machines, charging electric cars, but also for music downloads, online games or video-on-demand offers.
Studies from Germany show that more than 70 percent of all tickets sold are single tickets, short-haul tickets and day tickets, and are therefore classified as occasional passengers. Many German transport companies have been specifically serving this target group for years, which has a positive effect on the number of passengers and thus on their revenues.
"Paying by mobile phone bill has emerged over the last few years as the primary payment method for in-app ticket sales and is now the most popular payment option for occasional riders, " says Anja Wenmakers, managing director of SWB Bus und Bahn and SWB Mobil in Bonn.
"The mobile payment method has now been in use in Leipzig for years and represents an enrichment in the mix of payment methods, as it offers customers an uncomplicated way of concluding a purchase and also makes those customers accessible to us who, for example, would otherwise not be able to purchase tickets due to a lack of an account. In general, app sales and thus cashless payment are growth drivers with steadily increasing importance," says Sandy Brachmann, Head of Marketing at Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe (LVB) GmbH.
Risk of infection in public transport not higher than in private transport
An independent epidemiological study of the renowned research institute of the organization of the Berlin Charité confirmed in May 2021 that the regular use of public transport is not associated with a higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to individual transport. The study results ensure that people can once again board buses, trams and trains with a better feeling and on a secure factual basis. "Zahlenperhandyrechnung" supports compliance with hygiene rules and promotes a better feeling when purchasing tickets without contact.
With "Zahlenperhandyrechnung" not only your passengers but also your ticket sales will pick up again!
DIMOCO, founded in 2000, is a payment institution licensed by the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) and holds a payment services concession.
DIMOCO Payments GmbH offers robust and flexible APIs, enabling merchants to accept payments for digital and non-digital services and goods from customers in the European Economic Area (EEA) and worldwide.