Visa cardholders may soon make mass transit payments via smartphone

Visa cardholders may soon make mass transit payments via smartphone. According to a new report from Reuters, Visa will soon begin participating in a pilot program MasterCard has been running in New York City for several months. The system allows consumers to take on credit card debt to pay for their subway, train or bus rides simply by waving their credit card or smartphone in front of a contactless sensor.

The report said MasterCard has been testing the system since June on certain popular commuter routes, and many regular riders have taken on credit card debt in this way, leading Visa to enter into the program as well.

Visa cardholders can now participate in much the same way MasterCard customers have, the Reuters report noted. When they approach a turnstile, they can simply use their credit card, or alternatively affix an electronic sticker containing their credit card information to the back of their smartphone, and wave it over a sensor to take on credit card debt in exchange for the fare.

The world's largest credit network has also been working with Bank of America in recent months to test out similar payment programs in New York City at locations such as stores and other vendors, the report said. All pilot-enabled phones in that system can also be used in this new one, a Bank of America spokeswoman told Reuters.

Visa has also started another test for contactless transit system payments in Los Angeles, Reuters said. However, the process may not immediately involve credit card debt right away as smartphones will not be used in the process. Instead, consumers in the program will be given special prepaid debit cards which they can tap on a sensor to ride a subway or bus. In addition, select companies will also accept these cards for other goods and services in the city.

A number of different credit card companies have announced plans to begin testing more contactless systems all over the country. Many will let consumers to use their credit cards to make purchases without swiping them, but others will also allow for smartphone payments. Typically these work with RFID chips that are implanted into the handset and contain the information.