India’s One Nation One Card will be test-piloted with Mumbai bus operator BEST in November, NFCWorld reported on Tuesday (Aug. 13).
The national transit card system uses a bank-issued card that will run on India’s RuPay payments network, the news outlet said.
Based on the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), the new card is a contactless debit, credit or prepaid card. Transit passengers will be able to use the card to travel on the metro and suburban railways across India, as well as on buses. Cardholders will also have the option to pay for parking, tolls or retail purchases.
“The ticket fare will be deducted from an in-built wallet within the card, which will not be linked to one’s bank account,” BEST General Manager Surendrakumar Bagde told The Hindu.
Under the One Nation One Card system, cards can be read by any automatic fare collection (AFC) system in all public transport organizations. Bagde said the central government will foot the bill for the Mumbai pilot project.
“The pilot is to see how the system would work. The BEST has robust ticketing framework with a reasonably high passenger count, which makes it ideal for a pilot,” a railway official told The Hindu.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) will develop the electronic ticket issuing machines that will read the debit and credit cards.
India’s move away from cash has been aided by government mandate, as well as a confluence of technology and stakeholders ranging from banks to payment service providers. The country also has a greenfield of more than one billion consumers who are willing and able to transact in bits and bytes.
Despite the push, India remains a cash-intensive economy, where 90 percent of transactions are still done through hard currencies. But the evolution of the payments has been rapid, from a standing start just three years ago to year-end 2020 projections of $500 billion in transactions. There are also as many as 89 non-bank players striving to drive commerce’s digital transformation.