As part of its global strategy to extend its reach and develop mobile ticketing services, Mastercard has just made available a new contactless payment service in the subway of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

The new technology, dubbed “MetroPass,” transforms bank cards into subway travel cards with pre-paid billing plans for a limited or unlimited number of rides and even discounts.

“We are among the world’s pioneers to introduce such a solution,” the Kyiv subway authorities commented on their Facebook page.

The Kyiv subway teamed up with stated-owned Oschadbank and Mastercard to launch the project.

“We introduced the Mastercard contactless payment technology in the Kyiv transport infrastructure almost two years ago. So far, subway passengers using Mastercard for contactless payment have saved nearly 190,000 hours by not standing in lines,” commented Vera Platonova, Mastercard’s general manager in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Central Asia.

Visa PayWave users can benefit from contactless payments in the subway, too. They can buy a one-time ride via a yellow terminal.

Every day, almost 30,000 Kyiv subway passengers use contactless payment cards to pay for their rides, says Anton Tyutyun, deputy chairman of the Oschadbank’s management board.

In the Kyiv subway, modern payment terminals have been plugged on majestic marble walls

“We are glad that [tech companies] contribute to transform Kyiv into a smart city,” commented Mykola Povoroznyk, deputy head of the Kyiv City administration.

Kyiv was the fifth city in the world — after London, Chicago, Saint Petersburg and Bucharest — to introduce contactless payments in subway in 2015.

Bank card readers in trolleybuses

Almost simultaneously in southern Ukraine, Kherson became the first city in the country after Lviv (Lvov) to allow inhabitants to pay for rides via smartphones using a QR code in early March.

In a second stage, Kherson trolleybus conductors became the first ones in the country to be provided with bank card readers for payment acceptance.

So far, ten such mobile payment devices have been installed.

The project has been financially backed by PrivatBank, a major Ukrainian innovation-friendly bank.

“Not a single hryvnia has been taken from the city budget,” comments Elena Belnega, head at the Kherson office of PrivatBank.

Sources: PrivatBank, Mastercard, Kyiv Subway.