Mobile ticketing based on smart phone applications may sound like advanced technology but used payment solutions usually require that customer has a credit card or at least a bank account. What is missing is a cash like payment solution – and without one, public transport mobile ticketing does not serve people who have financial difficulties. And this group is bigger than you might expect.

According to the EU Agency Eurofound, on average 14% of households in EU28 countries had arrears in rent or mortgages, consumer credit, loans from family or friends, or utility bills, and 21% of people aged 18 or over had difficulties to make ends meet (see the report “Addressing household over-indebtedness” (see the pdf report here). Out of the appr. 746 Million Europeans, the 14% alone means over 100 Million people. While this example concerns Europe, the problem is global.

Many of these people at risk of over-indebtedness either have bad credit record or have never applied for a credit card. In addition, groups like the homeless, recently arrived immigrants or refugees, and also people under 18 may not even have a bank account. Having no credit or debit card effectively denies them the possibility to use most payment methods used often also in mobile ticketing applications, including wallets requiring money transfers, or payment services relying ultimately on credit cards. Whatever cash they may have at times is rather used on the very necessities – like food or mobile phone pre-paid credits – than on purchasing a monthly pass or even a serial ticket, despite their low costs per journey.

Being able to move around is also one of the necessities. Everybody must have the right to access transportation to avoid losing their jobs, to receive education or health care, or in general, to be able to manage somehow. And even the underprivileged have mobile phones!

The conclusion – confirmed by our and public transport companies’ experiences – is that SMS payment is often the only available chance for traveling. Thus, mobile ticketing also has a social aspect – as long as there is a mobile payment method that is available to everyone!