Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund GmbH, a Frankfurt, Germany-based regional transit authority also known as RMV, has expanded its pioneering Near Field Communication mobile-ticketing service that enables commuters to buy higher-value travel passes by tapping their phones at bus, tram, subway and train stops. The authority had allowed customers to use their NFC phones to buy only single-use and other low-value tickets. As first reported by CardLine Global and its sister publication Cards&Payments early last month, the authority is enabling customers to buy monthly passes, which get downloaded to a secure chip in the contactless phones. The chip, embedded in the Nokia 6131 NFC handsets customers can buy for the service, is designed to keep the tickets safe from fraud. Storing tickets on the chip also enables roving inspectors to check the passes just by tapping their own NFC phones or devices against the riders' NFC phones. Previously, the low-value tickets for the "RMV2Go" mobile-ticketing service were stored in the handsets. If requested, riders would display the tickets on the handset screen for inspectors to view. Throughout Germany's gateless transit systems, riders do not need to tap or insert cards or paper tickets into readers to board trams, trains or buses. RMV and transit operators in neighboring Austria enable customers to buy tickets by tapping their NFC phones on tiny chip tags embedded in plastic disks or in stickers posted at transit stations and stops. This automatically opens an application that enables passengers to buy the tickets with a few clicks. The customers register their bank accounts or payment cards in advance to pay for the tickets. They also can tap the tags to connect automatically to the mobile Internet for schedules, departure times, possible delays and other information. The transit authority also confirms it soon will expand the number of tags to 11 more major cities in its service area in the German state of Hesse. By 2012 it plans to have its entire region covered with 15,000 tags. The authority and other players involved in the ticketing service say customers later will be able to download the high-value tickets and applications onto SIM cards and to use other NFC mobile phones.

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