Image is of a man tapping a credit card.

PRESTO contactless payment pilot launches on UP Express, allowing customers to ‘tap-on’ with credit cards and mobile wallets

Metrolinx taking important first step to bring more payment options to transit customers across the region.

More payment options are here for transit riders, starting with UP Express.  

Starting today (Mar.11), customers can use their physical credit card or the credit card in their mobile wallet to pay for their fare on UP Express as part of a pilot – some call this ‘open payment’.

For the same price as the PRESTO adult fare, UP Express customers can tap on a PRESTO device with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card or their phone or watch with a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay. 

That means more choice and convenience for customers – for those who are taking essential trips right now, and to be ready for when more customers return.

PRESTO is testing these new payment options with UP Express customers to further enhance the payment experience and to inform the rollout across the region.

“Our customers have asked for more ways to pay, and we’re so excited to roll out the next stage with PRESTO contactless payment on UP Express,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster. “We are eager to build on this launch and deliver this to our customers around the region.”

PRESTO contactless payment offers a new and easy way for customers to pay for their transit fare, with no need to load funds or purchase a ticket ahead of time.

“Tapping their credit card or phone to pay for transit is what our customers have been asking for, and we’re thrilled to add this to the many customer improvements we’ve made to the PRESTO experience and the PRESTO app over the last year,” said Acting Chief of PRESTO, Fawad Ebraemi. “Our work hasn’t stopped because of COVID-19, and contactless payment is another measure to help our customers travel safely when they return.”

a person taps a blue credit card on the UP Express machine
Customers need to take the card want to pay with out of their wallet or phone case when they tap, to make sure the right card is charged. (Metrolinx photo)

How does PRESTO contactless payment work?

Just like with other contactless payment systems across the world, customers should take the card they want to pay with out of their wallet, purse or phone case when tapping onto a PRESTO device to pay. This avoids a situation called “card clash” and ensures the correct payment method is charged.

Customers must also tap on and off in the same way. If you tap on with your credit card, you must tap off with the same credit card. If you tap on with your phone or watch, you must tap off with the same phone or watch using the same card set up in your mobile wallet.

You can also pre-set your preferred credit card in a mobile wallet on your phone (or watch) for easy access and use anytime you feel like using credit as a payment method.

A person taps their smart watch on the UP Express terminal to pay.
Pro tip: remember when using contactless payment, you still need to tap on and tap off . (Metrolinx photo)

UP Express customers can continue to use their PRESTO card or e-ticket to pay their fare. The choice is yours.

PRESTO bringing more options across the region

Today (Mar. 11) marks the first phase of continued rollout to enhance and modernize the payment experience for customers across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

In the spring, PRESTO plans to add Interac Debit as an option to pay for travel on UP Express, the first time a transit agency in Canada will offer a Canadian contactless debit option.

 And then, following the UP Express pilot, PRESTO will be rolling out payment by credit, debit and mobile wallets to more transit agencies across the region in a phased manner. 

Stay tuned to Metrolinx News for more information on when these new payment options are available on PRESTO.

In the meantime, to learn more about contactless payment, visit our website.

Story by Brandon Bernard, Metrolinx communications planning senior advisor