News & Events

Taxi drivers are fighting back with card payments

Travelling by taxi in London and New York is easier than ever now that cabs in both cities are required to take card payments.

The new rules come as the taxi trade in both UK and US cities are under increasing pressure from cashless alternatives such as Uber.

The yellow-taxi industry in New York is reported as being in free fall as passengers are increasingly opting for cab services they can pay for using a Smart phone. In fact, you don't need cash to pay for a ride in a New York cab as New York cabbies are required by law to take card payments. With just the simple click of a button, drivers can switch from cash to card payments, and will issue a paper receipt on request. 

Before a similiar move was announced in February by Transport for London, only half of London’s 22,500 licensed taxis accepted card payments.

Passengers Back Card Payments

A consultation in 2015 in the UK found that 86% of respondents backed proposals for all London cabs to take card payments. And the mood for change goes even further, with 67% responding that passengers should be able to pay using contactless TW

Since October, passengers have been able to pay by card in all London cabs, and even use contactless cards and Smart phones to just tap and pay.

Contactless Future

Unlike the US, there has been a massive uptake in contactless payments in the UK in the past 12 months. As a result, the limit for contactless transactions has now risen from £20 to £30, meaning that the average taxi ride will easily qualify.

The rapid increase in contactless payments is only set to continue now that all payment terminals in Europe must be contactless enabled by 2020 and any business replacing payment terminals between now and then must ensure the replacements are contactless enabled.

Mobile Payments on the Rise

Apple Pay, the mobile payment and digital wallet service from Apple Inc, allows people to make payments using their iPhones and, eventually, with Apple Watch-compatible devices. Apple Pay has already been rolled out in the US and has been available in the UK since July 2015. Similar digital wallet payment services, such as Google Wallet, are readily available for Android phones.

For taxi drivers and their passengers, these fundamental changes in the way we make payments will transform the simple cab ride. No more worrying about whether you have enough cash, no more stopping at cash machines en route, and no more waiting while the right change is counted out or receipts are filled in.

Now that the taxi trade is catching up with the rest of our increasingly cashless society, all cabs and private taxi firms will need to comply with PCI DSS requirements, which make it mandatory to secure payment machines against theft and criminal tampering. One way to do this is to mount the terminal in a proper stand.

NFC Interference

Stands used to make payment terminals secure must be plastic rather than metal, to ensure the stand doesn’t interfere with the NFC (Near Field Communication) used to make mobile phone payments work.

In their ‘MasterCard PayPass best practices for merchants’ guidelines, MasterCard explicitly recommends plastic stands rather than metal ones for payment terminals.

Taxi-Specific Solutions

Tailwind’s FlexiPole stands are plastic, not metal, and offer no interference for contactless NFC. We also have a variety of specialist mounting products for private hire cabs and black cabs to make taking card and contactless payments in cabs efficient and secure.

Private Hire Cabs / NY Taxis: Tailwind’s FlexiPole SafeBase Taxi and FirstBase Taxi are unique mounting solutions designed to take card payments in private hire cabs or NY Taxi Cabs. They mount the payment machine securely to the headrest of the passenger seat of a standard saloon/sedan car and allow the driver to enter payment details and rotate the machine for the passenger. The system is currently being trialled in Glasgow airport cabs and in taxi fleets in the US.

Black Cabs: We recommend our SafeBase Contour and FirstBase Contour for black cabs. The wall mounted solution securely and invisibly locks the device in place while still allowing it to tilt and swivel. There’s no doubt that the new rules make life simpler for the millions of passengers using black cabs in London, and a high quality stand like Tailwind’s FlexiPole will further help make those millions of transactions secure and easy to manage. 

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