Checking in and out with your bank card: NS passengers in favour
Since January 2019, around 1.000 NS passengers have been involved in a six-month trial allowing them to check in and out with their debit or credit card on the Leiden – The Hague route. Two-thirds have been using their debit card, with one-third opting to use their credit card.
So far, the participants seem to be positive about the service, as reported in an interim evaluation. In fact, almost all the responses regarding the service were good. There have been no technical problems and passengers seem to find travelling using their bank card just as easy as using the OV-chipkaart.
One of the pros mentioned by participants is the fact that you don’t have to top-up your balance before you travel, the costs for your trip are taken from your account at the end of the day. Additionally, spokesperson for NS Hessel Koster states that, “Travellers also deem it useful that they do not have to purchase an OV-chipkaart, they already have their “travel card” with them”.
There are, of course, some areas for improvement, one being the number of check in/ out gates which can be used with a bank card. At this moment in time, on the trial route, there is only one at each station. Passengers also mention the speed of checking in and out as an area for improvement.
Making it easier for tourists to travel
NS feels that being able to check in and out with your bank card will make it easier for tourists and occasional travellers to use the train. For these groups, the OV-chipkaart is not exactly customer friendly. Moreover, using your bank card to travel is possible in other countries and is well-used as a service.
Despite the positive responses that the trial has received so far, it’ll be a long time before travelling using your bank card becomes possible in the Netherlands. This is due to the major technical changes that would be necessary, changes that are costly.