Unicard News
Unicard deploys universal contactless ticketing platform across the UK
Unicard Ticketing Hub platform enables tap-in tap-out using credit and debit cards on different modes of transport, with different operators
March 4th 2024 by Unicard

Unicard LTD, an established provider of smart ticketing and payment solutions to the public and commercial transport sector, today announced the nationwide launch of Ticketing Hub. A multi-modal, multi-operator integration platform, for simplifying the implementation of contactless ticketing, Ticketing Hub provides a “London-style” experience throughout the UK for passengers across a range of different modes of public transport, allowing them to tap in and tap out using debit or credit cards rather than buying multiple tickets.

Many operators today are held back from delivering a more connected and seamless travel experience by fragmented and complex ticketing infrastructures and a lack of customer payment options. Customer expectations around ticketing will only increase as urban transport becomes increasingly integrated and multi-modal, as travel options expand to include trains, buses, e-scooters, bikes and other modes.

Unicard Ticketing Hub is a universal, supplier-agnostic ticketing platform designed to simplify the implementation of contactless EMV card payments. This can be seamlessly delivered alongside operators’ legacy non-EMV ticketing systems.

Unlike other contactless EMV card solutions, Unicard Ticketing Hub offers published open APIs that provide a standard interface for account-based ticketing engines that accept taps from both EMV cards and other tokens (ITSO, app, barcode). It allows operators to consolidate schemes into a single back office and avoid vendor lock-in, by enabling them to mix card-reading hardware within a single deployment. It is also easily scalable for Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) deployments.

Speaking about the deployment, Alex Sbardella, Commercial and Products Director at Unicard, said: “Ticketing Hub reduces the complexity of multi-modal deployments, using APIs to ease integration with an operator’s existing systems and services. With both EMV and non-EMV in a single platform, without the need for additional hardware, it allows operators to offer a more comprehensive, joined-up customer experience. It makes it incredibly easy to travel across different modes of transport and different schemes across the country, without the need for separate tickets.”

Alex added: “With Ticketing Hub, Unicard has committed to open and transparent industry collaboration with competing suppliers. The solution fully complies with all integration standards and GDPR-compliant data ownership and sharing, whether for centralised systems or decentralised solutions tuned to local needs. Our experience with ITSO has proven the benefits of everyone working together to find the best solution for Regional Transport Authorities, Operators, and the travelling public. We look forward to expanding this innovation to more operators through the shared development of industry standards for contactless EMV.”

Ticketing Hub’s benefits extend across the urban mobility ecosystem beyond consumers and operators, reducing complexity for solution providers and acquirers, too. A single integration allows deployments to multiple operators and solution providers, while the platform’s centralised token services minimise the impact of PCI compliance. In addition, the use of published APIs speeds up transit deployments for acquirers and enables new opportunities despite the complexity of multi-partner integrations.

Unicard Ticketing Hub conforms to standards for aggregated Pay-As-You-Go transactions for transport from Visa and Mastercard. It also meets the objectives of Project Coral, a DfT initiative to deliver multi-operator capped ticketing nationally for bus travel.

The nationwide launch of Unicard Ticketing Hub follows its deployment by Transport for Wales (TfW) in September 2023. The platform allowed TfW to offer contactless EMV card payments on selected train routes and services in Wales, as well as enabling it to process payments and ensure passengers paid the best available fare.

To learn more about how Unicard Ticketing Hub can improve your operations, customers experience, or urban mobility solution, contact us.