FAQs

What does Snowball do?

Snowball’s provides comprehensive virtual ticketing services to public transit agencies, or PTAs. Snowball works with PTAs and all leading smart device makers, so that public transport passengers worldwide can enjoy the ease of virtual transit cards and the convenience of contactless payment.

Which card standards are compatible with Snowball's virtualisation platform?

Snowball can support MIFARE Classic, DESFire EV1/EV2 and MIFARE Plus proprietary technology, plus any kind of open standard technology, like Calypso, OSPT, EMV, etc.

What are the pros and cons of using an eSE-based NFC solution?

An eSE-based NFC solution, like Snowball’s OnBoard™, allows public transit agencies to maintain their existing infrastructure and backend, while maintaining the highest level of security possible. The system is also robust and fast to get going, usually taking only three to six months to launch.

How long does it usually take to on-board a new public transit agency?

Depending on the needs of the public transit agency (PTA), on-boarding can take anywhere from three to six months. It is faster for PTAs who require a solution based on a standard that Snowball has already integrated to its virtualisation platform.

It takes a little longer — but still only six months, maximum — if the PTA requires a card standard that Snowball is not yet using, due to the additional development required.

What are the benefits of the OnBoard™’s SaaS solution?

There are four main benefits. With our SaaS solution, PTAs can:

1) Keep their existing cards and products 

2) Keep existing closed loop business cases

3) Keep existing fare structures

4) Keep existing back office processes

And this means the transition to virtual ticketing is a seamless and painless as it can be. 

What kind of support does Snowball offer public transit agencies after on-boarding?

Once a public transit agency has been onboarded, Snowball offers ongoing support for both its SaaS customers and on-premises customers. This support includes:  

  • Second-level Help Desk support for commuters
  • White label application development for transit agencies
  • Launching promotions for PTA-branded applications
  • Handling all data management and technical service for SaaS customers
  • Technical advice as needed for on-premises customers (whose in-house team manages their own data centre)
  • Working with device manufacturers and adding new devices to OnBoardTM, as new models of smart devices are continually brought to market

Why are closed loop payment systems preferable for public transit agencies?

Closed loop payment systems are often the best option for public transit agencies because they allow for the quick and seamless addition of virtual card services for customers, while retaining existing infrastructure, back office processes, cards and products and fare structures. 

What is eSE? Why is it more secure?

eSE stands for embedded Secure Element. It is a dedicated hardware secure chip within the Java Card Operation System. It is EAL5+ certified and therefore has the same level of security as a banking card, which is as secure as it gets. 

What if the phone is broken, lost or stolen?

Users can login to their accounts on a new phone and report the phone broken or lost. At the same time, they can download a new card, top-up and begin to use it immediately.

After checking with the PTA backend system, the user can download a new card with their old card balance as well. The old card would then be blacklisted.

Can you support iPhone or iWatch?

Yes, iPhones and wearables (including Android and iOS) are compatible with Snowball’s products. 

Can PTA has their own App? How does it co-exsit with OEM wallet?

Yes, PTAs can have their own apps. E Wallets act as containers, managing all the cards issued by different apps. But a PTA-branded app manages only its own card.

What does PTA need to do in order to launch the mobile virtual ticketing solution?

One of the biggest advantages of Snowball’s solution is there is no need to upgrade the existing infrastructure and no need to upgrade existing card ticketing platforms. From the PTA’s side, there is only the need to provide the necessary documents and technical support for the integration.

What does a public transit agency need to do to integrate with a new device manufacturer?

Snowball has pre-integrated with a number of smart device makers already, and these integrations can be reused for all public transit agencies.

If Snowball wants to onboard a new device maker, we simply need to complete the integration with the manufacturer’s wallet and gain access to the secure element.

Snowball does this so that public transit agencies do not have to worry about working with device manufacturers, allowing PTAs to focus on their business and services. 

What is Snowball's opinion of Open Loop solutions?

Open Loop is similar to a banking card or a bank-centric product and service.

Open Loop solutions force transit agencies to give up their control over their services and customers.

In Open Loop, the card issuer is the bank, and the customer is bank’s customer. This means PTAs lose business. 

All service upgrading would be also be dependent on the bank, and, in order to support Open Loop, there is a requirement to upgrade infrastructure, introducing more costs, work and complications. 

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