Starting today, American Express is trying out a mobile payments solution for cab riders through a partnership with VeriFone, the company whose payments systems are installed in about half the city’s yellow cabs. Now, American Express cardholders who are enrolled in the company’s Membership Rewards program can pay for rides in more than 7,000 VeriFone cabs using rewards points they’ve accrued.
Through the pay-with-points offer, American Express passengers can choose to pay with “Credit” upon checkout, and swipe their credit card, as usual. A new option will pop up on the cab’s VeriFone TV screen prompting the customer to include a tip amount and choose whether or not they’d like to pay with points or credit. The pay-with-points option will operate on a conversion rate of 100 points to the dollar, so a $10 cab ride would be 1,000 points.
American Express’s SVP of digital partnerships and development Leslie Berland says the pay-with-points program was designed so passengers don’t have to change their user behavior to participate. “There are no phones, no codes, no upfront registration,” Berland tells Fast Company. “As a consumer, you are going through the behavior that you do every single day, which is why we think this is going to be so disruptive and so powerful.”
Berland and American Express’s global business and marketplace development VP Dave Wolf say today’s announcement marks the first of potentially many different directions for the partnership with VeriFone. VeriFone’s payments solutions power not just taxicabs, but also other consumer-friendly spots like retail stores and restaurants, and Berland hints at the possibility of new integrations that will “shake up the industry a bit.”