Account-Based Ticketing

Account-Based Ticketing

What’s it all ABT? Breaking down the benefits of account-based ticketing

The rise of ‘tap-and-pay’ technology in many markets to is leading travelers to expect the same flexibility, efficiency and time-saving benefits from their transport ticketing. With transport agencies under increasing pressure from both consumer demand and budget restraints – what’s the answer to sustainable innovation?

As an enabler of new-age fare media and integrated mobility services, offering a whole host of logistical benefits too, account-based ticketing (ABT) is dominating several conversations in the transport ticketing industry.

But first, what is ABT? And what exactly can it offer transport agencies looking to upgrade their ticketing infrastructure?

Moving to the cloud
A definition frequently cited is from the Secure Technology Alliance, who defines ABT as: “the transit fare collection system architecture that uses the back-office system to apply relevant business rules, determine the fare, and settle the transaction.”

So, instead of a ticket and its value being held on a paper ticket, a stored value card or a virtual smartcard hosted on a smartphone, a traveler’s funds and ‘account’ are held in the cloud and ‘payment’ occurs either during or after travel. The traveler simply carries a fare media with an identifier that authenticates them with the back-office and links to their pre-funded account.

Optimizing operations
With access to much more data, transport agencies are able to better leverage variable pricing models to encourage more even usage around peak hours. In short, enabling a smoother, better quality service.

Moving to the cloud also enables operators to be responsive and agile – minimizing fraud more quickly by deactivating accounts remotely, updating ticketing needs and rolling out new value-added services without the need to re-issue tickets or make hardware upgrades.

As ABT is based upon the passenger carrying an identifier, operators can issue considerably less complex smartcard profiles than traditional stored value cards, too. Plus, with all the processing and ‘smart stuff’ carried out in the back-office, ticketing gates, fareboxes, validators – even fare media – no longer need to be as intelligent. Long term, this can mean huge savings.

Tap and travel your way
If the payments industry has taught us anything in recent years, it’s that consumers want choice and a quick, pain-free transaction experience. With the ticket managed in the cloud, travelers can choose which media to identify themselves within an ABT system – whether a smartcard, mobile device or a wearable. What’s more, travelers using a pre-funded ABT account are no longer concerned about ‘topping up’ or having enough stored value to get to their destination.

For consumers, ABT equals convenience. Forget your card? Use your mobile app instead. Lost your card? As no information regarding fare balance is held on the card or device, travelers no longer lose value if they lose their card.

Implementing effectively
ABT is not something new, but it is something that operators have been hesitant to adopt because of the costs and complexities of upgrading proprietary systems.

To bring the transport ticketing industry into an age of sustainable innovation, open non-proprietary standards and the collaboration of industry stakeholders is essential. Standards simplify the introduction of new services and open up the market to new, more competitive and effective solutions.

Innovation is advancing rapidly in adjacent markets, and as services increasingly converge in the age of mobility on demand, collaboration is essential to enabling transport operators to keep pace. OSPT Alliance exists to facilitate just that. Tackling the technical complexities of implementing ABT, as well as illustrating how its CIPURSE™ open standard can best be utilized to develop an effective system, download its eBook here to learn more.


  • Joerg Schmidt

    Joerg is a Senior Manager and expert with more than 12 years of experience in contactless technology, semiconductors, telecommunications, mobile communications, mobile payments and standardization. Joerg has a laser-sharp focus on business development, marketing, sales, strategy development and deployment, innovation management, strategic alliances and project management. Joerg is multi- cultural, with work experience in APAC, in the US and in Europe. Joerg is currently the Business Development Manager NFC, Transport and Standardization, at Infineon Technologies. Joerg is currently Chair of the OSPT Alliance Marketing Working Group.