Washington, D.C. taxis set to finally accept credit cards
May 06, 2013

Taxis in most major U.S. cities have credit card processing software due to the increasing number of consumers who prefer the purchasing method. However, cabs in Washington, D.C. have been slow to update their transaction systems, and all are only permitted to accept cash. The city's cab fleet is changing this.

With an increasing number of companies integrating electronic payment solutions at the point of sale, many consumers only carry plastic. By requiring customers to pay for services with cash, D.C. taxis have been slow to adapt to consumer preferences. Taxi drivers and customers have been calling for the acceptance of plastic, and it is now set to happen.

New 'smart meters' coming to city taxis
According to The Washington Post, D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Rob Linton recently announced plastic payment software adoption in the city's taxi fleet will be introduced in all cabs beginning August 31. Taxi drivers and Major Vincent Gray have been calling for the new technology and hoped the integration would be finalized earlier this year. The software integration was rescheduled from the end of March by the appeals board due to issues surrounding the payment carrier. Now, the commission will allow taxis to select their own carrier rather than use a single model. However, the decision comes down to the taxi commission, which must approve the final rule before it passes.

Linton told WAMU-FM, a local radio station, this long-standing issue will hopefully be resolved with the commission's vote. 

"I have a good feeling it should, hopefully," Linton said. "So, on the first of September, no one should have any problem using a credit [card] system to take a taxicab ride."

Integrating credit card acceptance into the city's 6,500 cabs has not been easy because the original payment processing contract was canceled. Taxi drivers hoped the transaction method would be in place in January 2013 in time for inauguration weekend; however, now each driver will have the option to choose which payment processing company they would like to go through instead of having one mandated option. Linton said in a letter earlier in the year that city authorities changed the plan because of advancements in smart meter technology.

Taxis and local governments all over the country have been utilizing integrated payment systems to better serve consumers for many years, and D.C. will finally join them. Accepting debit and credit cards is essential to increasing sales and satisfying customers, and companies may want to consider adopting the purchasing platform to reach a greater audience.

Nexus: G-WEBCD5