As the saying goes, if you can do that, you can do it anywhere. As of Friday, contactless payments are set to expand in a big way because New York City MTA riders will be able to pass through the turnbuckles with just a hand girl or a phone wave – as long as they carry an NFC-enabled Apple Watch, Fitbit, Samsung or Android device.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's One Metro New York launches a new multi-transit tap-and-pay program, including all Staten Island buses, and all stops on the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines between Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue- Barclays Center. MTA plans to extend the OMNY program to the entire NYC public transportation system by 2021.
While Tim Cook had already confirmed Apple's participation in the program and Google previously announced its partnership with MTA "to get more features with Google Maps and Google Assistant for to make commuting even easier. OMNY will also support Samsung and Fitbit devices. Here's how they work:
OMNY uses Apple Pay Express mode, which lets you click your watch or phone on the contactless terminal without having to wake the device or use biometric authentication. Users must update to iOS 12.3 and watchOS 5.2.1 to use Apple Pay Express Transit on iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and later iPhones, and Apple Watch Series 1 and newer models.
All Android smartphones with an NFC chip can take advantage of the OMNY system by tapping their phone on the terminal, but Google has not announced if Wear OS watches will work yet. Google Assistant also has new transit features, so you can ask when the next train arrives and Maps will tell you if your station supports OMNY.
Fitbit Pay was launched in 2017 and then expanded to about 40 countries and several of Fitbit's trackers: Ionic, Versa Special Edition and Charge 3 Special Edition all support the OMNY system via the Wallet app. Fitbit also announced that it will launch transit support in six other cities as well: Chicago, Singapore, New South Wales, Taiwan, Vancouver and London.
Samsung phones that support NFC or Magnetic Secure Transmission technology will be able to pay for prices using either the Samsung Pay app or the Google Pay app. Using with a Galaxy or Gear watch can also use OMNY but must use Samsung Pay as the default payment method.