Public transportation is essential for commuters in urban areas. It provides an affordable and convenient way for people to travel to work, school, appointments, and run errands. However, managing payments and ridership data across a complex transit network can be challenging for transport authorities.
To streamline fare collection and leverage the vast amounts of data generated in transit systems, innovative payment solutions are necessary. Contactless and account-based ticketing implemented through open-loop payments and closed-loop transit cards are becoming the global standard. These solutions provide riders with seamless access while giving transit agencies valuable ridership insights to inform planning decisions.
PayCraft, NSDL Payments Bank & NPCI Launch India’s First Corporate Transit Card
India is at the forefront of this transit payment revolution. Players like PayCraft, NSDL Payments Bank, and NPCI are collaborating to develop cutting-edge solutions tailored to the Indian market. The newly launched Corporate Transit Card is one such innovation that will transform business commuting across the nation’s bustling metro rail networks.
Parties Involved in the Collaboration
To understand this payments innovation, we must first examine the organizations collaborating to develop the Corporate Transit Card platform.
PayCraft is an end-to-end transit payments solution provider founded in 2016 and headquartered in Mumbai. This homegrown startup focuses exclusively on advancing digital payments in Indian transit.
PayCraft develops technologies for processing metro, bus, and railway payments. Its modular, interoperable platforms help transit operators digitize ticketing, modernize fare collection infrastructure, improve operations, and utilize data analytics.
The company’s clients include major transport authorities like Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. PayCraft aims to completely digitize public transit payments in India while also exporting its solutions globally.
NSDL Payments Bank
Incorporated in 2018, NSDL Payments Bank is a subsidiary of National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL). It received a payments bank license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in October 2017 as part of the central bank’s financial inclusion initiative.
As a payments bank, NSDL Payments Bank can accept deposits, facilitate money transfers, issue debit cards, offer internet banking services, and distribute third party financial products like insurance. However, payments banks cannot provide lending solutions. By law, at least 75% of their assets must be invested in government securities to ensure liquidity and solvency.
NSDL Payments Bank aims to foster financial inclusion by offering banking services to the underserved through nationwide accessibility and innovative technology. It has extensive experience handling financial transactions as India’s first and largest depository organization. The company currently services over 2.5 million banking customers across the country.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organization launched in 2009 to oversee retail payments and settlement infrastructure in India. It was established under the guidance of the RBI and Indian Banks Association to consolidate the nation’s fragmented electronic payments ecosystem.
Headquartered in Mumbai, NPCI develops low-cost digital payment and settlement platforms. Its portfolio includes well-known solutions like RuPay (domestic card network), IMPS (immediate fund transfers), UPI (unified payments interface), NETC FASTag (electronic toll collection), AePS (micro-ATM network), NACH (bulk payments), NFS (ATM network), and Bharat BillPay (bill payments).
Over the past decade, NPCI has significantly expanded the reach of digital payments, especially to rural areas through offerings like AePS and NACH. It aims to enable further innovation in the fintech space by providing open-access infrastructure adhering to global standards. NPCI is a critical stakeholder advancing India’s transition to a less-cash economy.
As evident, PayCraft, NSDL Payments Bank, and NPCI each play an important role in India’s payment ecosystem growth story. Their partnership in launching the Corporate Transit Card promotes continued innovation and efficiency in the mass transit sector.
Corporate Transit Card Solution Overview
The Corporate Transit Card is an NFC-enabled open loop RuPay card tailored for business commuters on metro rail networks across India. It provides integrated mobility allowing cardholders seamless travel across different transit systems in various cities.
Customized for Corporates
While consumer transit cards have existed in India for years, the Corporate Transit Card is the nation’s first payment platform specifically designed for business travelers.
Companies can distribute these contactless smart cards to their employees for commuting via public transportation instead of relying on cash reimbursements or informal arrangements. It brings commute payments under formal financial management while also reducing administration costs for smoothing bookkeeping, accounting, and tax filings.
As an employee benefit, the card promotes uptake of shared transit, helping firms reduce their overall transportation carbon footprint. So it offers both financial and environmental incentives for corporate adoption.
End-to-End Corporate Payments Solution
What makes the PayCraft Corporate Transit Card truly revolutionary is that it serves as an all-encompassing business payment tool, not just an isolated mobility platform.
Companies can utilize these smart RuPay cards for all small value organizational expenses beyond just managing travel. It enables seamless disbursements, vendor payouts, office purchases, online payments, and automated expense reporting across the complete expenditure lifecycle.
The prepaid cards are accepted universally through the RuPay network at all merchant point-of-sale terminals as well as for card-not-present ecommerce transactions. The accompanying PayCraft expense management technology synchronizes transaction data and spending patterns allowing customizable reporting.
So the mobility focus of the multi-benefit Corporate Transit Card is supplemented by comprehensive features for smoothening the entire B2B payments, budgeting, reimbursement, and reconciliation process. This makes it an end-to-end spend optimization solution for Indian corporates and SMEs alike.
Reloadable General Purpose Card
The RuPay-powered contactless prepaid card allows online reloads through corporate accounts so that companies can credit a fixed commuting allowance each month. Employees simply tap the card on metro rail ticket validators for seamless entry and exiting without needing to top-up balances separately.
When not being used for transit payments, the Corporate Transit Card doubles as a general purpose reloadable card for all other daily expenditures. So beyond smoothening business travel, companies can also integrate these cards into their existing corporate gifting and incentives programs or link them to payroll and expense management workflows.
Interoperable Across Transit
The Bank of India-issued Corporate Transit Card is accepted across all metro rail networks associated with the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) program.
NCMC is NPCI’s mobility platform similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus or London’s Oyster system which enables seamless regional travel using open-loop payments. Already live in many cities including Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Lucknow, NCMC will eventually be rolled out across all metro rails, buses, toll booths, parking lots, and even taxis for building integrated nationwide mobility.
So through NCMC interoperability, this new corporates card allows employees to conveniently utilize metros not just in their home city but wherever business takes them without managing multiple transit accounts.
Multi-Benefit Transit Partner Program
PayCraft has also launched a complimentary Transit Partner Program for companies signing up their employees to the card. This provides corporates access to a suite of value-added services including:
- Bulk procurement of corporate transit cards bundled with insurance covers and loyalty rewards
- Complete expense tracking, spends analytics, and savings insights for data-driven transport policymaking
- Seamless integration with travel booking platforms for combined flight, hotel, rental, and local transport management
- Tax reports for seamless GST credit claims on employee transit incentives
So beyond frictionless payments, the card also helps companies glean strategic intelligence to enhance their overall travel mechanisms and policies.
In summary, this NCMC-enabled, RuPay-powered, and NSDL Payments Bank-issued multi-benefit Corporate Transit Card provides Indian firms a streamlined platform to manage, incentivize, and gather insights on business commute spends. For employees, it eases travel through seamless regional metro rail access.
Key Payment Technologies Powering the Platform
Delivering this slick transit payments innovation for Indian corporates requires various cutting-edge technologies working harmoniously in the background.
The domestic card payment network RuPay is the rails on which transactions are facilitated for the prepaid Corporate Transit Card program. Launched by NPCI in 2012 to reduce reliance on international schemes like Visa and Mastercard, RuPay has since evolved into a global card brand itself.
It accounted for over 60% of India’s 1 billion+ debit and credit cards as of March 2022. Beyond consumer finance, RuPay now also powers a variety of commercial, corporate, and government payments like tax, tuition fees, and toll collection.
For transit applications, RuPay offers a versatile processing backbone supported by all mainstream card payment terminals. It enables the creation of customized mobility solutions like NCMC and corporate transit cards that can be accepted seamlessly across the country.
Its extensive reach combined with advanced security protocols, local data residency compliance, and low transaction processing fees make RuPay well-positioned to drive payments innovation in Indian public transit for years to come.
The NCMC or National Common Mobility Card is the standardized open payments architecture overseeing this corporate transit card rollout. Conceived by NPCI, NCMC defines common design principles and technology specifications to govern deployment of mobility payments nationwide.
Like other smart mobility platforms globally, NCMC allows Indian transit agencies to launch their own digitized ticketing systems and closed loop transit cards while also converging under a unified interoperable payments umbrella.
So a single NCMC-compliant mobility card or app can provide users access to different metros, buses, parking garages, taxis and so on across multiple cities and states. It spares commuters the headache of managing different accounts while offering a consistent passenger experience.
For issuers like banks, NCMC guidelines enable creating innovative mobility products like open-loop transit cards and wallets readily accepted across all participating