Fintech & Ecommerce

Korean subway will test ‘tagless’ Bluetooth fare payments

Two subway lines in South Korea will pilot a ‘tagless’ fare payment system

transport tagless payments


NFCW reported that two subway lines in South Korea would pilot a ‘tagless’ fare payment system. Passengers will pay for their tickets simply by walking through a ticketing gate. There will be no need to tap a contactless reader with transit cards or smartphones.


The system developed by T-Money uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology. Mobile sensor devices will detect a passenger’s smartphone when they pass through a subway gate. It automatically charges the transit cost via the T-Money Pay app. 

Tagless payment works even when a connected smartphone is in the bag or pocket. That makes it easy to pass for people with luggage, children or the elderly, and people in armchairs. Besides, the technology will help tackle the spread of new coronavirus and other potential infectious viruses.

The pilot service will launch on the Ui-Sinseol light rapid transit line in Seoul and on Subway Line 2 in Incheon later this month. 

The city government plans to install 3,340 contact-free gates across all stations by 2023. 

The technology is already functional on South Korean buses in Gyeonggi-do Province. It detects a Bluetooth signal from a passenger’s smartphone when they board and get off the vehicle. The app automatically charges customers’ pre- or postpaid transit cards for their fare.


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Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.