DOTr Will Soon Roll Out Public Transport Payment Via EMV Cards

The system is already widely used in countries like Singapore and Thailand.
IMAGE Facebook video screenshot / DOTr

If the Department of Transportation has its way, we may soon say bye bye to paying manong jeepney driver and kuya konduktor ng bus in cash. The DOTr has said it is preparing to implement a massive interoperable Automated Fare Collection System for all transport modes. 

In a statement of Facebook, the DOTr said it is finalizing the release of the AFCS National Standards, or “a nationwide standard specification for transit fare media and transit readers to ensure interoperability and mutual trust among multiple automatic fare collection players and systems.”

Essentially it’s a universal system of collecting fares from passengers from any public utility vehicle or mass transport system such as the MRT and LRT. The DOTr says it’s a way to provide convenient payment options to the riding public.

And one part of this AFCS National Standards is contactless payment through through EMVCo cards. EMV originally stood for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three financial giants that originated the system of smart payment cards for payment terminals and ATMs. But the system is now managed by a consortium that includes the three original players plus JCB, American Express, China UnionPay, and Discover. 

In the Philippines, most Filipinos with bank accounts are already using EMVCo cards (i.e. debit/credit cards), which the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas required all banks to transition their account holders to in January 2017. Transit systems in other countries such as Singapore and Thailand are already using EMVCo cards to ride their buses, rail and subway systems, according to the DOTr.


Last October, the DOTr said it signed a memorandum of agreement with the Land Bank of the Philippines to conduct a Pilot Production Test (PPT) for the EMVCo Contactless payment media. Part of this PPT was a “proof of technology” demonstration last month that showcased the functions of the validator and transit readers processing the EMVCo contactless payment fare in a modern public utility jeepney, a bus, and a rail system.

“The use of this technology in the transit system expands the fare media the public can use,” the DOTr said. “It also promises a more secure payment system, improved passenger convenience, and helps lessen card-issue and management costs for transit operators.”

When this standard is adopted, the hope is that regular commuters will be able to use their EMVCo cards to make paying public transport fares simpler and more convenient. The DOTr has not yet said though, if this system will eventually replace cash payments altogether.

Watch the demo here: 

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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