Apple Pay Express Transit could expand to support new card types, iOS 12.3 code suggests

Apple is working to streamline the Apple Pay Transit process for users, a new report suggests. Citing evidence found within iOS 12.3 code, the report explains that Apple is working is expanding the availability of the Apple Pay “Express Transit” feature to new card types.









Tap Down Under explains that currently, Express Transit is limited to “stored value cards,” such as Suica. This is a card where you keep a certain amount of money on the card itself, and pre-load it with funds when you run out. This type of card is especially common on transit passes, hence why it is supported by Express Transit within Apple Pay.

Code found within iOS 12.3, however, suggests, that Apple Pay users will soon be able to use EMV cards with Apple Pay Express Transit, which consist of Visa, MasterCard, and American Express cards. This would mean that you could set a default transport card from your existing Apple Pay cards and be able to use that card with Apple Pay Express Transit. It would also be able to distinguish what type of terminal you tap your phone at – and if it’s a non-transit terminal, you’ll be prompted to authenticate as you would at a normal Apple Pay purchase.

New strings discovered within the pass.json files of Apple Pay card files make mention of new ‘Transit Network Identifiers’ options, as well as new passUpgrades/open loop options – which would provide an equivalent solution for Apple Pay customers.

You’d be able to set your preferred EMV card (again, Visa, Mastercard or American Express) to use for ‘Express Transit’ – no need to authenticate, just tap your iPhone or Watch at an Opal reader.

This lines up with Apple’s plans to expand Apple Pay Transit to the MTA network in New York City this summer, as MTA supports the EMV card platform for contactless payments.

Apple Pay Express Transit enables users to quickly use their iPhone or Apple Watch to authenticate at contactless terminals, without having to authenticate via Face ID or Touch, or even unlock their phone. By using EMV cards in Apple Pay for Express Transit, users would not have to pre-load funds or convert funds to transit fare at all. This will theoretically greatly streamline the process.

Details here are still somewhat sparse, but nonetheless it’s a good sign to see Apple working to expand Apple Pay’s Transit capabilities to as many users and areas as possible.


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