The Bank of Azerbaijan has issued public transport cards, which will become a full-fledged payment facility in the future.
"Further, various innovations are planned, including the possibility to use the card as a full payment instrument. For this, the owner will need to apply to one of the branches of the bank, where after presentation of identity card, the travel card will be replaced by a bank debit card with the possibility of payment in public transport," the bank said.
Some 450,000 cards are ready for use now, another million cards were ordered additionally. The cards are on sale in 80 kiosks of the city, as well as at the Bank of Azerbaijan branches. Moreover, it is planned to expand the sales network and recharge tools of the card.
The work of the payment system is controlled by a processing center specially created for this purpose in the Bank of Azerbaijan.
The transport card is produced based on contactless chip debit card MasterCard PayPass. Transport payment and other services will also be available directly from mobile phone or tablet due to the PayPass platform compatibility with NFC technology, used in mobile devices. Thus, the user will be able to pay by the phone even without the card.
However, using of the contactless technology and anonymity of the transport card has led to certain restrictions. The card's balance can be refilled by the amount to 20 manats ($25) per day and a limit per transaction should not exceed 30 manats ($38).
To date, the plastic public transport cards are used only on two bus routes - No 10 and No 95 from the beginning of January. By the end of February they are expected to be used on 36 routes covering 650 busses.
The special verifying-readers have been already installed on 1,000 buses of the city. At first, the payment will be made both by card and in cash. The balance of cards can be filled up in kiosks.
Process of deployment will be completed before the end of 2014, some 500 verifying-readers will be additionally installed.
The card costs three manat ($3.8), of which two manat ($2.5) is an insurance deposit and one manat ($1.2) will be transferred to the balance.
Transition to the single card payment system was forecasted in Baku from May 2013, but was repeatedly delayed.
The card payment system is being implemented within an intellectual transport management (ITM) system, which was launched in December 2011. The ITM system costs more than $95 million. After full commissioning, it will be controlled from a center in Baku.
The implementation of the system is expected to finish until the inaugural European Olympic Games, which will be held in Baku in 2015.