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Ethekwini goes live with Muvo card

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The official launch of the MasterCard Muvo card has made the Ethekwini Transit System a world leader in ticketing technology. The multifunctional card will be rolled out to all commuters using People Mover and Durban Transport buses.

The card is powered by Standard Bank and delivered by its innovation arm Beyond Payments and transport IT specialist Almex.

The card is an anonymous debit MasterCard that is coupled with the National Department of Transport’s (NDoT) specified ticketing solution. It is also prefunded and reloadable, and can be used as a standard EMV MasterCard, as well as in a contactless environment enabled though the MasterCard PayPass contactless technology.

The launch follows the successful pilot phase of the MasterCard Muvo card on the inner city fleet of People Movers, in which buses were fitted out with electronic ticketing devices and the contactless payment cards were issued to commuters. Kiosks were set up along Durban’s inner city bus route, where funds could be loaded onto the cards. Commuters then either paid for their bus trips by tapping their card against the electronic ticketing device installed on the buses, or presented payment for their ticket in the same manner as before.

The ticketing devices are now being installed in all buses in Ethekwini and 50 000 MasterCard Muvo cards will be issued to commuters, free of charge, over the next two months. Commuters can load funds into their cards at 20 fixed sales points located in the city, or they can do so in one of 14 Muvo vans that will operate along the various routes.

This is believed to be the first time that transit tickets are hosted inside a banking application on an EMV contactless card, and the first time that a card of this nature has been deployed in South Africa in full compliance with the NDoT’s regulations. This combination of card and service platforms currently offers services across a multiplicity of transit fleet operators with more than 200 different travel product options.

This solution differs to payment cards that are used to purchase tickets for each trip in that it stores tickets of different types, such as scholar or pensioner tickets, or tickets for different routes and journeys.

NDoT compliance also allows for the system, developed by Beyond Payments, MasterCard and Almex, to be adopted by any municipality. “The integration of a fare management system on the card is key and takes banks into a new space in value added services,” says Mike Hughes, business development manager of Beyond Payments.

“Many of Beyond Payments’ products offer alternative payment mechanisms designed to relieve consumers of the need to carry cash. The MasterCard Muvo card is a particularly practical solution.

“The card also allows for employers and parents to load their employees’ and children’s cards remotely. In addition, the light FICA limits mean that even though the cards are anonymous, there are solutions in place to replace cards in the event of theft or loss,” he adds.

Security features incorporated into the MasterCard Muvo card are in line with international standards. The tap ‘n go functionality, for example, eliminates the need for a magnetic stripe, which helps prevent card cloning. Fraudulent transactions facilitated by these techniques are estimated to run into the hundreds of millions of rands annually. The system also complies with Payment Association of South Africa (PASA) requirements, which govern inter-bank transfers.

According to Hughes, the most significant achievement of the MasterCard Muvo card is that it is an entry into the banking environment for South Africa’s unbanked population. With no monthly charges, the card offers a new level of security and convenience for citizens who choose to use it as their primary carrier for banking services. The fact that the card can be accepted by merchants displaying the MasterCard and/or the MasterCard PayPass™ logos  extends this financial inclusion further, as cardholders are able to make purchases with the card beyond the transit and contactless environments.

Up to R3 000 can be loaded on to The MasterCard Muvo card in one month, and it can carry a maximum balance of R1 500. The maximum payment per transaction is R200. These are referred to as Exemption 15 limits in terms of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) and allow for the cards to be issued anonymously.

Dries Zietsman, country manager: South Africa of MasterCard Worldwide, says: “MasterCard is currently leading the introduction of contactless payments in the transit and retail environments in South Africa, using MasterCard PayPass, the technology behind the MasterCard Cash brand that will appear on the Muvo cards.”