A new era in mobile phone payments has dawned and smartphones look set to become an even more familiar sight on public transport after 2degrees began selling a $299 Android phone that has Snapper’s contactless payment technology built in.
The LG Optimus Net smartphone can be used as an alternative to Snapper and Hop cards, to tag on and off 1000 buses in Wellington and Auckland as well as in the 3000 taxis and 500 shops that accept Snapper.
Owners hold the phone – which does not need to be turned on – up to a reader or payment terminal just as they would a Snapper card. However, the “Touch2Pay” application offers some extra conveniences. Snapper balances are shown on the phone and can be topped up by credit card.
Owners can also transfer money from the Snapper account on the smartphone to any Snapper card issued within the past 18 months, by holding the card against their phone and keying in the transfer. Snapper chief executive Miki Szikszai expected that to be a convenience for families with multiple cards.
Being able to use a smartphone to tag on and off public transport is a great idea. I hope over time it expands to other phones.