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O-CITY and DSK Bank’s team up to launch contactless payments in Bulgarian public transport and to accelerate the drive towards smart city and digital transformation

BPC’s smart city payment division, O-CITY has partnered with DSK Bank and its subsidiary DSK Mobile, both part of OTP Group and local operator CNS, that delivers the new Ticketing system of Sofia Urban Mobility Center, to help Sofia’s digital payment transformation in mass transit. The partnership enables travelers across the capital to experience contactless payments. 

Passengers can now pay using contactless Visa or Mastercard bank cards issued by any bank or fintech company across the world or respective NFC mobile wallet, in 3,900 validators installed across the capital’s public ground transportation system including buses, trams, trolleybuses. The project will see 450 stations across the metro system accept payments in a second phase. With Visa Mass Transit and Mastercard Pay As You Go solutions, a payment can be processed in milliseconds and reduces the need for cash, as the bank card can be used as a ‘ticket’ on public transport.

With a population of 1.3 million people and around 0.5 million guests daily, Sofia sees its residents and visitors getting a superior travel experience which will continue to be improved with the new payments system.

O-CITY ensures passengers can seamlessly and securely tap- to-pay with their bank card in public transport or any other means of payment, wallet, QR code and more. The rollout has come at a time when the pandemic has boosted the adoption of contactless payments everywhere in response to social distancing and contact-free precautions.

In addition, O-CITY’s platform delivers a supplemental web functionality that enables travelers to create a web profile online and register their cards via the Sofia Urban Mobility Center (SUMC), where they can receive access to their travel history and charges applied as well as other fiscal information. Using a BPC eCommerce solution for DSK Bank, the SUMC web portal provides functionality to pre-purchase a travel subscription on close loop transport cards, completing the full scale of digital payments for public transport services for the new ticketing system in Sofia.

This same information is available for online registered users through the “City by DSK” mobile app, which is compatible with iOS and Android.

This flexibility in payments is possible with O-CITY’s open loop technologies, which helps operators expand the choice for payment and transition to contactless payments. The solution has already been implemented in over 130 cities worldwide and quickly adopted by travelers, leading to a rapid return on investment for operators and governments. Countries that went digital amid the pandemic include Kenya, The Philippines and Kyrgyzstan.

The digitisation of payments is part of the Bulgarian government’s commitment to making Sofia a “green capital” and a model of sustainable urban development. As a means to achieve this goal, Sofia Municipality and Sofia Urban Mobility Center implemented a new unified ticketing system in May 2021, which enables a variety of new channels, including open loop EMV contactless cards. Sofia’s Smart City strategy has involved the development of its Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) to improve residents’ lives and to make Sofia’s urban operations more innovative and sustainable for the future.

Commenting on the partnership, Tokhir Abdukadirov, SVP, Head of Smart City Solutions at O-CITY, said: “In cities around the world, transport is undergoing accelerated digital transformation, spurred on by pandemic concerns. Contactless is becoming a convenient and efficient reality everywhere, and there is simply no way back. We are proud to see Sofia Municipality and Sofia Urban Mobility Center working together with DSK, CNS, Visa, MasterCard and O-CITY to power this exciting initiative which will make travelling around the capital city easier for everyone.”