Littlepay, the UK-based, transit-focused payment service provider, has implemented the first phase of its open loop payment system for public transport in Finland’s capital Helsinki and its second city, Tampere. Tap-to-pay is also now live on selected ferries and trams in Helsinki and on buses operated by Nysse in Tampere.

The development is a major milestone for Littlepay, Helsinki Regional Transport (HSL) and TVV lippu- ja maksujärjestelmä Oy (LMJ) to enable contactless payments. Future phases of the programme involve multi-modal roll-outs across a number of other Finnish cities.

Mari Flink, Customer Experience and Sales, Director at HSL says, “We believe our riders will appreciate the convenience of the new systems. On public transport, it’s so simple to tap a contactless card or device on a reader, rather than queuing to buy a travel card or ticket, or downloading a transit app.”

Mirroring a trend seen across the world, the adoption of contactless payment in the Nordics accelerated significantly during the pandemic. Data from paytech leader Nets shows that the ratio of contactless card payments rose from around 56% at the start of 2020 to 74% in November.

Petri Carpén, Director at Nets, says: “The Nordic region has long been at the forefront when it comes to contactless payment. Although the trend was clear when we entered 2020, the change in consumer behaviour over the last year has been unusually rapid.”

The fare collection systems used in Helsinki and Tampere are an example of Littlepay’s modular approach. Both use Littlepay for transit payment processing and Nets for card scheme connectivity. However, the solutions vary in their choice of integrated hardware. In Helsinki, PPT Excellence validators handle card taps, while in Tampere, hardware is provided by Pusatec and Logos.

Littlepay says this ability to plug-and-play different connected validators and acquiring services is a key advantage of the system. The payment gateway has secured numerous partnerships with ticketing technology providers and financial institutions, which allow it to offer a range of hybrid solutions. All integrations are PCI Level 1 certified and compliant with card scheme rules for transit.

For the Tampere deployment, Littlepay also developed fare capping rules to introduce zonal, time-based capping. This allows the transit agency to configure fare caps depending on the when a passenger is travelling and the zones they enter during their journey. The new capping rules are designed to offer flexibility and value. Passengers can travel across as many zones as needed within the travel window and trust that they will be charged the best fare for the journey taken.

Photo credit: HSL