The pace of change in payment system is higher today than perhaps at any previous moment in history. A major driver for this change is the increasing use of the customer’s mobile phone. Smartphones can be used to provide customers with accurate and timely information relating to their travel and to allow them to load travel products on their contactless travel cards. Perhaps most conveniently, smartphones can also be used as public transport tickets directly. This can be done in a variety of ways:

  • The screen of the phone may display a barcode that can be visually inspected by an inspector.
  • The screen of the phone may display a 2D-barcode, which is inspected by barcode readers.
  • The standardized barcodes for bill payment can also be used to top-up mobile money accounts.

he company provides consumers with a payment slip which can either be printed or accessed on a smartphone. The slip has a barcode which merchants scan to accept the cash payment. Through this platform, unbanked customers can pay their utility bills in cash at their local 7-Evelen convenience store or simply operate at public phone as mini KOISK device.

Of course, barcodes are merely an enabler for payments, and there are competing technologies that may offer greater security and usability advantages. Standards can help to make a solution viable but, more importantly, a clear and compelling value proposition is necessary to drive adoption. Nevertheless, the use-cases discussed above suggest applications of a decades-old technology that, if used creatively, could offer new ways to reach underserved segments.