Snowball Technology Enables Transit Cards on iPhone and Apple Watch in Six Major Chinese Cities

Posted by Shannon Amy Murphy

April 29, 2021

SHANGHAI

Mobile Ticketing with Apple Wallet

Snowball Technology has launched NFC-based mobile ticketing with Apple Wallet, allowing passengers in Suzhou, Xiamen, Tianjin, Changsha, Shijiazhuang and Xi’an to access public transport with just a tap of their iPhone or Apple Watch. The rollout was successfully executed in each of the aforementioned Chinese cities over a period of just three months.

Snowball’s platform, OnBoard™, allows passengers to easily add transit cards to Apple Wallet. Passengers can also add transit cards to Apple Wallet from public transit agency mobile apps.

A spokesperson at Xiamen E-Card said, “We are now able to offer our passengers NFC ticketing for iOS.”

Underscoring the benefits of NFC over QR, the Xiamen E-Card spokesperson added, “NFC offers a much better user-friendly experience than QR. We’ve seen that Apple Wallet motivates both plastic card users and adopters of QR code to migrate to a better experience.”

A manager at Tianjin Metropolitan Card also stressed the enhanced user experience with the Apple Pay transit platform that is enabled by Snowball: “Whether you’re a daily commuter or just an occasional passenger, you can always get a seamless payment experience with Tianjin transit card in Apple Wallet on your iPhone or Apple Watch.”

 

Covid-19 has led to an increased demand for affordable and convenient forms of contactless payment.
“Working jointly with Apple and the public transit agencies to bring mobile ticketing for transit in China called for a continued dedication to user experience, in addition to swift and seamless implementation.”

The Impact of Covid-19 on Transit Agencies in China

Covid-19 has led to an increased demand for affordable and convenient forms of contactless payment. For public transit agencies, virtual transit cards address these heightened needs in critical ways:

They reduce the need for manned ticket booths and expensive vending machines, saving not only capital expenditure costs but also on human resource costs. Payment via eWallets like Apple Pay also eliminates the sanitary concerns of cash changing hands, while allowing card issuance and top-ups at any time and place. Finally, by reducing plastic card production, the use of mobile devices saves transit agencies money, while giving commuters a more convenient (and eco-friendly) way to access public transport.

Wang Na, who works for the Marketing Department at Xi’an Chang’an Card Payment, noted that the introduction of Xi’an transit card on iPhone or Apple Watch was one of the additional services made available to passengers in Xian during the pandemic this year:

“2020 has not been a normal year,” she said. “During Covid-19, at Chang’An Card, we introduced Xi’an transit card on iPhone or Apple Watch, which is a truly valuable option for our passengers. We also developed more online services, including food delivery, as well as services to help people worship their ancestors during Qingming.”

A spokesperson at Shijiazhuang Smart Card highlighted the hope that the new mobile ticketing launch would expand business for the transit agency when he said, “Supporting Shijiazhuang transit cards on iPhone or Apple Watch is crucial for the Shijiazhuang market. With it, we expect to acquire more users and provide better public transportation services.”

 

Excellent Customer Experience

Physical cards are still available for commuters who chose not to go mobile, but the mobile format comes with many benefits.

Excellent customer experience was a priority for Snowball’s engineers who developed the OnBoard™ service platform, which is why the transit apps built on OnBoard™ come with multiple features. App users can view their journeys and transaction histories, refund money, backup and restore the card, and more.

“Snowball has always focused on a great user experience,” said Ciaran Fisher, Chief Executive Officer of Snowball. “Working jointly with Apple and the public transit agencies to bring mobile ticketing for transit in China called for a continued dedication to user experience, in addition to swift and seamless implementation.”

Lu Jinping, General Manager at Suzhou Citizen Card, made a comment that echoed the priority on fast execution made by Mr. Fisher:

“While working with Snowball, we experienced the benefits of collaborating with a milestone- driven team. Their project planning was a role model for flawless execution.”

 

Want to find out how to bring mobile ticketing to your city in only 6 months?

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