A multifunctional payments card, incorporating both near field communication (NFC) and debit card functionality, has just been rolled out by Standard Bank’s innovation incubator and business development unit Beyond Payments. The dual function card has met Mastercard requirements and is believed to be a world first in the realm of cashless payment technology.

Developed to meet the requirements of the National Department of Transport (NDoT), the so called Muvo card is being debuted in kwaZulu-Natal by the eThekwini Municipality and will be used by commuters to pay for their bus fare.

As of 10 May 2012, an initial 1 000 commuters using the PeopleMover bus service, in Durban’s city centre, have been able to load credits onto their Muvo card at kiosks, and then tap the card against a card reader upon boarding a bus in order to pay for their ride.

The pilot phase will be followed by a roll-out to the rest of the 55 0000 commuters throughout the eThekwini Municipality region.

The capabilities of the card, however, go beyond its NFC functionality. Mastercard technology incorporated into the card means that it can also be swiped at any vendor that accepts debit card payments.

The main components that afford the cards a broad spectrum of usage are the PayPass application, which allows for tap n go payments, and an MChip 4 data chip, which conforms to all MasterCard EMV standards, effectively turning the card into a MasterCard debit card as well. The card complies with the requirements of the National Department of Transport and is the first of its kind to be introduced in South Africa.

A pre-authorised debit application will be used to allow the card to work in closed loop payment environments, such as the purchase of bus tickets and the deduction of tickets from the card upon boarding the bus. Thanks to the inclusion of EMV capabilities, it will also be possible for merchants to opt to accept the card as a payment method at their stores, on a pre-authorised debit basis.

When the card is presented at a payment device, the fee management systems will calculate the amount payable or ride deduction after which the Standard Bank payments engine will process the transaction.

“The Muvo card is a world first, and showcases a transit ticket sitting inside a banking chip – secured with bank strength security – along with a payment wallet,” says Herman Singh, CEO of Beyond Payments.

“While several flat fee implementations have already been successfully implemented in the market, this solution is notable due to the full use of the NDoT (National Department of Transport) data structure and a fully-fledged electronic card based ticketing capability,” comments a representative of Mastercard.

The first 1 000 Muvo cards are currently being issued to commuters and the system is up and running, with 23 buses already kitted out with tap n go devices so far. An envisaged  55 000 commuters will make use of this service daily.