The future of direct carrier billing in ticketing and transport


Fonix attended the Intelligent Transport Ticketing and Payments Innovation summit this year, alongside Transport for London, First Transit, Scheidt & Bachmann and more, to understand the trends and changes that have taken place in the last year in response to the pandemic and the future of the transport sector.

Contactless payments are an important element of ticketing, it speeds up a purchase and improves the efficiency to reduce congestion. The topic of cash becoming an increasingly obsolete method of payment was a recurring theme in this year’s webinars. LittlePay’s panel session discussed the requirements for change in the post-Covid-19 era and gave insights to contactless, with data showing that usage of contactless payments has doubled between February 2020 and 2021.

This is where direct carrier billing has an opportunity to develop the transport industry’s payments, ideally suited to the ticketing model in light of developments for cashless and touchless purchases, a simple innovation that centralises the billing system and the user journey to one device. By enabling an NFC or QR code to trigger a payment, or simply adding direct carrier billing within an app, the charge is made within the device and charged to the users’ phone bill.

Another key topic discussed was collaborative systems for multimodal transport, allowing cities to have one system to manage their entire transit ecosystem; one solution used universally to travel via bus, tram, train and e-mobility networks, culminating into one central system. This promotes public transport as a total solution to help drive people from their cars to a more simple and effective movement system.

Bundling enables clarity for the individual user, making multimodal transport far more attractive by introducing a daily cap that can cover all forms of transit within a set boundary. The ‘Oyster’ in London, supported by Transport For London is an example, where the underground, overground and bus system can all be paid for with a simple contactless Oyster card.

Direct carrier billing fits this centralised model, allowing the entire ticketing and billing flow to be focussed on the mobile phone, a device which is now almost universally owned. Even those who are deemed unbanked or underbanked tend to have a phone for contact and whether a PAYG or contract phone, direct carrier billing charges can be made which opens up transit to more people. A consolidated solution for all modes of transport, all within the mobile phone, as opposed to having a separate card for contactless gives greater span for travel on both a national and international scale.

If you are interested to speak to us about how we can help to improve your ticketing user journey and develop the transport ecosystem, get in touch at