updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu September 23, 2010
Removes need for separate cards
New York City Transit, New Jersey Transit and the Port Authorities of both New Jersey and New York have begun a phone-based payment program, run in cooperation with Visa. The pilot initiative allows people with Visa payWave-equipped smartphones -- including iPhones -- to wave them in front of a special reader in order to pay for a bus, subway or train ride. Normally, people would have to buy and refill separate cards for similar convenience.
A special sensor is required for the reader to recognize a phone, and within the New York subway system, only 28 stops along the Lexington line are currently payWave-ready. Other deployments of the technology are occurring in London, Paris, Istanbul, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Apple has the explored the concept on its own, submitting various patents hinting at the prospect of iPhones with built-in payment functions.