Could China Lead Way in Using QR Codes for Mobile Transit Ticketing Instead of NFC? Shanghai Metro Could Provide Answer

NFC TIMES Exclusive Insight – While the rollout hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as planned, the Shanghai Metro’s launch of a large trial of QR code-based payments could mark a turning point for use of the technology for transit fare collection.

Shanghai Metro, one of the busiest subway systems in the world, has equipped all 389 metro stations with QR code scanners, though most of the stations only have two entry and two exit turnstiles equipped for the trial, which began Saturday. And Shanghai is not the only Chinese city to have launched QR code-based fare collection, even as the transit authorities in these cities also support NFC mobile ticketing. Other transit authorities trying out or rolling out QR codes include those in Guangzhou and Hangzhou. 

Mobile payments giants Ant Financial and its Alipay service and Tencent Holdings’ WeChat Pay are driving the move to QR code-based ticketing. But Chinese bank card network and major NFC backer China UnionPay also has a QR code-based payments service and is supporting the Shanghai Metro’s latest app. 

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