Business and Economy

Touch and Pay launch Cowry card cashless fare collection technology for Lagos Blue Rail Line

Rail users in Nigeria’s largest metropolis, Lagos, can now use TAP’s contactless Cowry card to access the recently launched Blue Rail Line for the first time, according to Touch and Pay Technologies [TAP], a Nigerian fintech business and leading processor of micro-transactions in Africa.

TAP was the first payment firm in Nigeria to provide the payment infrastructure that allowed contactless payment cards to be used on buses and ferries when it was established in 2019 by Olamide Afolabi, Kabir Yabo, and Michael Oluwole. By allowing the use of contactless payment cards on trains in Nigeria, the firm maintains its reputation for innovation. TAP contributes by promoting financial inclusion among the mostly unbanked population by efficiently processing micropayments between $10 and $10.

Lagos residents can use the Cowry card on the 13 kilometers of track that are contemplated for the project thanks to the partnership with the Lagos state government. 200,000 passengers each day use the first section of the railway, from Marina to Mile-2, and may now enter and depart stations without any problems thanks to the cutting-edge turnstiles installed by TAP. When phase two is finished, from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko, up to 500,000 daily travelers will be able to move between stations by rail, bus, and ferry with ease.

64 million adults in Nigeria lack access to banks. This restricts the amount of cash that consumers can withdraw for use on public transit. In order to address this issue, TAP developed the Cowry card, a clever card that allows users to pay for transportation digitally. It will be introduced on buses in 2020 and will increase financial inclusion for the continent of Africa’s unbanked people. Cowry cards have been utilized in six states in just four years, facilitating 3.5 million contactless bus payments each month.

Riders touch their Cowry cards against the cutting-edge turnstile validators, which are shielded by toughened glass and employ Near-field communication (NFC) technology to communicate with the automated collecting stations. The pay-as-you-go card from TAP significantly reduces fare evasion. The 500,000 people who use the Blue Rail Line each day will not be subjected to the time-consuming, laborious process of having their tickets manually inspected, unlike passengers on other lines. At Alaba, Marina, National Theatre, Mile 2 and Orile, turnstiles will be in operation.

Co-founder and CEO of Touch and Pay Technologies, Olamide Afolabi, said on the project: “We are happy to be facilitating and digitising payment on behalf of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority” (LAMATA). Our NFC payment solutions have been installed on BRT buses, ferries, and now trains.

The success of our contactless payment systems is outstanding. We have developed a modern answer for today’s travelers. Since most electronic cards don’t allow for payments below $10, train fares have traditionally relied on low-value cash transactions. This has presented a challenge for many travelers.

This gap is filled by our Cowry card, which supports microtransactions between 10 cents and $10. Today, people can pay for their train trips using a digital and contemporary approach without carrying a lot of cash. We are hopeful that even more travelers will come to appreciate the advantages of this quick yet dependable technology, which for the first time integrates transportation in Lagos.

Businesses have tried to modernize Nigeria’s payment system since since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced its cashless policy in 2012. TAP’s efficient handling of these vital to the economy micropayments helps to foster financial inclusion among the mostly unbanked populace. By ensuring 99.9% reliability in cashless transaction processes across the whole African economy, TAP aims to digitise the entire informal market with contactless cards and open the door for true financial inclusion.

Payment is a social issue, not a technological one, said Michael Oluwole, co-founder and chief growth officer of Touch and Pay Technologies. Solutions to alleviate transit payment concerns are a priority for us. Previously, foreign businesses were tasked with finding solutions to our regional transportation issues. We’re happy to be the first local business to offer this unified solution.

Elias Akin, Chief Technology Officer of Touch and Pay Technologies, commented on the launch, saying, “We have taken all necessary efforts to ensure that our customers’ data is secure, and the technology is very simple to use because we understand the diverse demography of our users.”

TAP was the first payment infrastructure provider in Nigeria to set up a system that made it possible to use contactless credit and debit cards on buses and ferries.

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