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Virgin Trains uses mobile payments to let customers purchase wifi access on the move

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Customers of UK rail operator Virgin Trains are now able to purchase onboard wifi access using their mobile phones. Nomad Digital, a leading provider of high-speed, end-to-end wireless connections on transportation fleets, has announced that it is using ImpulsePay’s mobile purchasing solution to enable customers to pay for wifi access on any wifi enabled Virgin Train, using their mobile phones.

The agreement means that, as of 14th June 2011, Virgin Trains customers are able to use their mobile phones to pay for wifi access on board any wifi enabled Virgin train, with payment being taken from their available pay as you go credit or added to their monthly mobile phone bill.

Virgin Trains operate a free-access wifi model in First Class and charge in Standard. Initially customers were only able to purchase wifi access using their credit or debit cards. Nomad Digital, who provide the wifi access on Virgin’s entire fleet of 75 trains, were looking for ways to further monetise the service and enable a wider choice of payment methods for travellers.

Jay Saw, Commercial Director at Nomad Digital, explains: “Many Virgin Trains customers don’t have or don’t want to use credit cards for this type of small, infrequent transaction. We were exploring a number of alternatives, including Premium SMS solutions, but we liked the ImpulsePay solution because of its controlled environment and the simple billing mechanism.”

Billing via ImpulsePay is carried out over the internet as opposed to via a text message. Using Payforit, the ImpulsePay solution, enables Virgin Trains customers to pay for and access wifi in three simple steps. Customers enter their mobile number on screen, receive an SMS with a PIN code and then enter this back into the screen to complete the process. wifi access is available for a period of either 75 or 200 minutes, and costs £5 or £10.

The billing technology, Payforit, is backed by all UK mobile phone operators and allows direct billing of consumers’ mobile phones, eliminating the need for unreliable premium rate messages. This also means that no sensitive information leaves the security of the mobile operators’ billing systems, making it inherently secure, as it only requires a mobile number.

“ImpulsePay provides a safe, secure method of making small payments,” Jay continued. “It was very simple to integrate the ImpulsePay code into our onboard systems and there were no additional set up costs or monthly fees involved”

In the first week, over 400 Virgin Trains customers took advantage of the new payment method and take-up has continued to grow.

“Nomad Digital recognised that mobile purchasing could add value to their business,” said Paul Paterson, Operations Director of ImpulsePay. “Payforit can be used by anyone with a mobile phone and by offering more payment choices, Nomad is able to convert more customers and increase their revenue. The ImpulsePay solution has a proven track record with thousands of transactions being carried out safely and securely every month.”

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