NYC transit completes Apple Pay rollout; U.K. banks propose steep hike in contactless payment ceiling

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Big Apple

New York City’s entire transit system now accepts Apple Pay, about 18 months after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began testing mobile contactless payments.

All subway stations and buses in every borough are NFC-enabled following the completion of the first phase of MTA’s OMNY payments system, Apple Insider reports.

So far OMNY only supports pay-per-ride contactless mobile payments, with free transfers. In the next phase of OMNY’s development, users will have the option to buy discounted fares in advance. The MTA plans to completely phase out the MetroCard payment option by 2023.

Big tap

UK Finance has proposed more than doubling the upper limit on contactless payments in Britain, in one of its first moves following the U.K.'s official separation from the EU.

Early in the pandemic, U.K. banks raised the ceiling on contactless payments from £15 (US$20) to £45 (US$60), but the limit could soon rise to £100 (US$136) from £45 if the U.K. treasury approves the move, the Daily Mail reports. The request from the bank lobbying group would require approval by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority.

Major card networks began raising contactless limits last year to facilitate more contactless purchases. Amex was at the forefront, and by June 2020 it had raised contactless limits in 60 countries.

Layover

Top-tier travel rewards credit card issuers have extended loyalty benefits to non-travel categories for a second year, as the pandemic continues to crimp card users’ travel plans.

Citi Prestige, which carries a $495 annual fee, will give users the option to divert the annual $250 travel credit to purchases at supermarkets and restaurants — including takeout meals — in 2021. Citi originally said the option would be available from May through December 2020.

Chase Sapphire Reserve, which carries a $550 annual fee, is offering customers up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases through 2021. The American Express Platinum card, also $550 a year, last year boosted its sign-up bonus to 75,000 points, and the deal continues this year with 10X points on gas station and supermarket purchases in the first year for new customers.

Digital yardstick

The Reserve Bank of India has identified five key parameters it will use to measure the expanding usage of digital payments across all regions of the country under the new Digital Payments Index.

The five parameters are payment enablers; payments infrastructure for sending transactions; payments infrastructure for receiving transactions; payment performance and customer centricity, according to the Financial Express from India.

India’s largest payments providers include Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, WhatsApp Payments and the RBI’s own UPI, which has seen a huge surge in usage in the last year.

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