Apple-sponsored NFC Forum working to bring contactless payments to U.S. public transit

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The NFC Forum — an industry lobbying group that counts Apple as a board member — on Wednesday announced a new partnership with the American Public Transportation Association that will see the two groups working to broaden NFC support among public transit operators in the U.S.

As part of the collaboration, the NFC Forum and APTA will create and distribute training materials, customer research, and other educational programs to promote NFC adoption by transit operators. In addition, APTA will expand its own participation in international NFC- and tranport-related working groups.

"NFC will improve the passenger experience by linking passengers with mobile phones and public transit fare payment, and by increasing the opportunities to share digital content to improve the transit passenger convenience," APTA chief Michael Melaniphy said in a release.

The use of NFC payments for transit networks has become increasingly popular around the world as operators work to make lines more efficient. Of the world's 10 busiest metro systems, only New York City and Mexico City have yet to implement contactless fare cards — though New York is in the process of doing so, setting a target date of 2020.

Apple is well positioned to benefit from any expansion of NFC in the U.S. thanks to Apple Pay, and the company has already seen success with public transit operators. Commuters in London can pay their fares through the NFC-equipped iPhone or Apple Watch.

Apple joined the NFC Forum as a sponsor member last August. The company is represented on the body's board of directors, by Director of Wireless Systems Engineering Aon Mujtaba.