Apple Pay Express Transit Users in NYC Reportedly Being Charged Just for Going Near Tap-and-Pay Readers

Some travelers on the New York City subway who have enabled Apple's Express Transit feature on their iPhones are reportedly being hit with unintentional MTA charges when they walk near the tap-and-go fare readers.

Image credit: PRNewsfoto/OMNY

Express Transit is an Apple Pay feature that allows users to pay fares with a swipe of their iPhone at the turnstile without having to unlock their device first with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.

But according to the New York Post, the OMNY tap-and-go fare readers that the MTA installed have been taking charges from commuters who used contactless cards and their iPhones were pocketed or in a purse.
Megan Bagg, 29, of SoHo, told The Post she has been charged twice — despite having her phone in her bag.

"It was ridiculous. My phone was in my purse near my hip," she said.

Bagg said she at first blamed the charge on her contactless credit card — and even called the bank to complain — until the second charge occurred when it wasn't on her person.

"I've been keeping my purse far from the thing when I go through the turnstile," she said.
Another subway user told The Post that he had had a similar experience swiping in with his MetroCard at Grand Central Terminal when his ‌iPhone‌ was in his pocket, and only noticed the doubled-up charge when later reviewing their bank statement.

MTA confirmed to the paper that "about 30 customers" had complained about unintended charges when the Express Transit feature of their iPhones is activated. The authority said it is working with Apple on a solution to address "the issue of unintended taps."

Apple says it has not had the issue in other cities where the Express Transit feature is available, so the problem seems to be down to the hypersensitivity of the NYC subway's tap-and-go readers. If you're a NYC subway user and you're concerned about being hit by bogus charges on your ‌iPhone‌ when paying with a card, you can turn off Express Transit until the issue with the terminals is fixed.

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Hong Kong’s Octopus Card Delays Apple Pay Support Until 2020

Hong Kong transit riders will not be able to use their Octopus card with Apple Pay this year as originally promised.


As noted by the blog Ata Distance, Octopus Cards Limited today announced that Apple Pay support has been delayed until later in 2020, after previously indicating that the rollout would be completed by the end of 2019.

Apple Pay support will allow the Octopus card to be added to the Wallet app for contactless fare payment using an iPhone or Apple Watch. Express Transit mode will likely be supported, allowing for tap-and-go payment without needing to authenticate the iPhone or Apple Watch with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.

2019 was a big year for Apple Pay with Express Transit mode, with major cities like London and New York City rolling out support. Other cities like Philadelphia, San Diego, Shenzhen, and Washington, D.C. also have plans to support Apple Pay in 2020. Apple maintains a list of supported cities on its website.

(Thanks, Kanjo!)

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Australia’s Westpac Bank Announces Upcoming Support for Apple Pay

Westpac, the second largest bank in Australia, has announced plans to implement support for Apple Pay across its brands in 2020, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

‌Apple Pay‌ is now available for the St. George, BankSA, and Bank of Melbourne brands. Customers of these banks with an eligible Visa debit or credit card can now use ‌Apple Pay‌ for contactless payments and online purchases in Australia.


Westpac customers will have access to ‌Apple Pay‌ by June 2020, and the rollout to the main Westpac brand is said to take longer because Westpac currently uses a different banking platform. As the Westpac system is updated, ‌Apple Pay‌ will be rolling out for its regional brands.

"We want to assure Westpac customers we are working to bring them ‌Apple Pay‌ as quickly as possible, while we roll-out the technology across our different banking platforms," said chief executive of consumer banking David Lindberg.

Westpac has been a notable ‌Apple Pay‌ holdout and is the fourth of Australia's "big four" banks to implement support for ‌Apple Pay‌. Along with NAB and Commonwealth Bank, Westpac attempted to collectively bargain with Apple in an attempt to force Apple to open up the iPhone's NFC capabilities to support other digital wallets, like those offered by Westpac itself.

Apple argued that this would be harmful to consumers and would stifle innovation, and Australian regulators took Apple's side in the dispute. The banks were not provided with authorization to collectively bargain with Apple.

ANZ, one of the four major banks, has supported ‌Apple Pay‌ since it launched in Australia. Commonwealth Bank, Australia's largest bank, has supported ‌Apple Pay‌ since January 2019, and NAB implemented support in May 2019.

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Apple Pay Coming to Transit Systems in Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston, and More Cities Between 2020-2023

Transit agencies in major cities like London, New York, and Washington, D.C. have recently rolled out support for or expanded availability of Apple Pay for contactless fare payment using an iPhone or Apple Watch.


Given this trend, MacRumors reached out to transit agencies in additional cities across North America to inquire about their Apple Pay plans:
  • Philadelphia: SEPTA plans to start supporting Apple Pay and mobile ticketing next year. The rollout may begin as early as the second quarter of 2020, but the timeline is not firm yet.

  • Boston: MBTA says Apple Pay with Express Transit mode will be piloted in 2022 and rolled out widely in 2023. This will include CharlieCard fare card integration in the Wallet app.

  • San Diego: SDMTS plans to begin implementing a new fare payment system in late 2020 with support for mobile wallets like Apple Pay. No plans for Compass Card integration in the Wallet app at this time.

  • Toronto: Metrolinx says it is working toward initiating a limited pilot program to test out new forms of payment in 2020. In April 2018, Metrolinx reportedly said riders would be able to pay their fare by tapping their smartphone against a PRESTO reader in "far less than five years."

  • Montréal: STM plans to support Apple Pay around 2022-2023 for credit cards, but not the OPUS fare card.
We'll update this list if any other transit agencies respond.

Apple Pay with Express Transit mode allows for tap-and-go payment, eliminating the need to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. The device does not need to be waked or unlocked, either.

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Apple Pay With Express Transit Mode Coming to D.C. Metro in 2020

Apple Pay with Express Transit mode is coming to the Washington Metro in 2020, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced today. No specific timeline has been provided yet.

Starting next year, riders in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area will be able to add their reloadable SmarTrip fare card to the Wallet app and simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a contactless payment reader at Metrorail stations or on Metrobus buses to pay their fare.


Express Transit mode allows for tap-and-go payment, eliminating the need to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. The device does not need to be waked or unlocked, either.

This announcement comes less than two weeks after Transport for London rolled out Apple Pay with Express Transit mode across its system. Apple Pay with Express Transit mode is also rolling out to 85 additional MTA stations in New York City this month, including the busy hub of Penn Station.

Express Transit mode is also supported in Portland, Beijing, Shanghai, and parts of Japan.

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Apple Pay Now Accepted at NYC’s Penn Station, Coming to 85 More MTA Stations Later This Month

New York City's public transit agency MTA today announced that its tap-and-go fare payment system OMNY is now available at Penn Station, a major hub, with support for both mobile wallets like Apple Pay and contactless credit cards from the likes of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.

96 OMNY readers are now live at 18 turnstile arrays serving the A, C, E and 1, 2, 3 lines at Penn Station, according to the MTA.


New Yorkers will be able to tap and ride at a total of 85 stations across the MTA system later this month, and the MTA plans to expand contactless payments to all 472 of its subway stations and all of its bus routes by the end of 2020.

Apple Pay will be accepted on MTA-operated buses in Manhattan beginning March 2020, with further plans detailed on the OMNY website.

Apple Pay first became available at select MTA subway stations and on Staten Island buses in May, complete with support for Express Transit mode. Riders can simply hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near the contactless reader to pay their fare, without needing to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode. The device does not need to be tapped on or unlocked, either.

OMNY is currently limited to full-fare, pay-per-ride use, with additional fare options set to become available during future phases of the rollout, such as unlimited ride passes and reduced fares. Keep in mind that free transfers are only available at OMNY-enabled stations, so plan your trip accordingly.

MetroCards will remain available until at least 2023, according to the MTA.

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Apple Pay Goes Live for Sparkasse and Commerzbank Customers in Germany

Apple Pay came to two additional big banks in Germany today, bringing the digital payment platform to millions more people in the country just over a year since it launched there.


As of this morning, customers of both Sparkasse and Commerzbank can add their Visa and Mastercard credit cards to the Wallet app. The Sparkassen-Karte Basis debit card is also compatible, but support for the Sparkasse giro card is coming later, sometime in 2020.

Apple's mobile payment system allows users to make contactless payments for goods and services in retail stores using their iPhone or Apple Watch.

‌Apple Pay‌ made its long-awaited debut in Germany back in December 2018 with multiple partners immediately jumping on board, but support from Sparkasse and Commerzebank was conspicuously absent on rollout day. The two banks previously said in June 2019 that ‌Apple Pay‌ support was coming later in the year.


Apple CEO Tim Cook said in March that ‌Apple Pay‌ would be available in more than 40 countries and regions by the end of 2019. ‌Apple Pay‌ first launched in the United States in October 2014. You can view the full list of ‌Apple Pay‌ countries and regions on Apple's website.

(Via Macerkopf.de)


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Apple Pay Now Available to Customers of Swedbank, One of Sweden’s Largest Banks

Swedbank, one of the largest banks in Sweden, has today announced support for Apple Pay.

"We want to be able to provide our customers a good range of digital and mobile services and ‌Apple Pay‌ is a sought-after service among our customers. We are pleased to now be able to broaden our mobile payment offer with yet another secure and smart alternative, which will provide lots of added value for our customers", said Lotta Lovén, Head of Digital Banking at Swedbank.
Swedbank customers are now able to add their Mastercard credit cards and Maestro debit cards to the Wallet app by tapping the plus button in the top-right corner.

‌Apple Pay‌ can be used anywhere contactless payments are accepted with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch. It is also accepted by select apps and websites.

‌Apple Pay‌ launched in Sweden in October 2017, and with Swedbank now on board, up to 4.1 million more customers can gain access to the service in the country.

‌Apple Pay‌ will be available in more than 40 countries and territories by the end of 2019, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

(Thanks to a tipster from Estonia!)


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Apple Pay’s Tap-and-Go Express Transit Mode Now Live in London, Advertised on MetroCards in NYC

Last week, MacRumors reported that Apple Pay's Express Transit mode was being tested at some London Underground stations. And now, Apple has formally announced that Express Transit mode is live across all Transport for London services, including the tube, buses, trains, and trams.

Apple has been alerting customers in the United Kingdom about this news by email, pointing them to a new page on its website with more details.


Express Transit mode eliminates the need to authenticate your payment with Face ID or Touch ID. And you don't need to wake or unlock your device, either. Simply tap your iPhone or Apple Watch on the card reader and go. You'll need an iPhone 6s and newer or an Apple Watch Series 1 or newer.

If you have an iPhone XS or newer, Express Transit mode even works for up to five hours after your iPhone shuts off and displays a red battery icon.

To set up a card for use with Express Transit mode, open the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Wallet & Apple Pay > Express Transit Card. Select a card and then authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode.


In related news, Apple has started advertising Apple Pay with Express Transit mode on some MetroCard fare cards in New York City, as shared on Reddit. The MTA added support for the feature earlier this year. Express Transit mode is also supported in Portland, Beijing, Shanghai, and parts of Japan.

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Apple Pay’s Express Transit Mode Working in Parts of London Underground

While not yet reflected on Apple's website, Apple Pay's Express Transit mode has been functional on at least some tube and bus routes in London since last Tuesday or so, according to multiple MacRumors readers.

Image: Trusted Reviews

One reader said the Express Transit mode works on Transport for London's U5 bus route between Hayes and Uxbridge, as well as at the Ealing Broadway and Farringdon stations serving the London Underground and National Rail. Not all stations support Express Transit mode yet, so this could be early testing.

Despite this, Transport for London has advised customers that Express Transit mode is "not currently an option" as recently as Thursday, although it said it is having "positive discussions with Apple" about enabling the feature. Apple and Transport for London did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Express Transit mode eliminates the need for users to authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode or even wake their device when they pay for rides with Apple Pay. Simply hold your iPhone or Apple Watch near the contactless reader until you feel a vibration and payment has been completed.

Apple Pay with Express Transit mode is also available in New York City, Portland, Beijing, Shanghai, and where Suica is accepted in Japan.

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