Unicard Buys Ecebs Digital Ticketing Business from Visa

Unicard LTD, a Wimborne, UK-based provider of Smart Ticketing and payment solutions to the public and commercial transport sector, acquired Smart Ticketing specialists Ecebs from Visa.

The amount of the deal was not disclosed.

The market transaction will enable Unicard to offer a more comprehensive range of solutions in the UK, and abroad. The move sees Unicard add contactless EMV to its extensive solutions portfolio, comprised of a Smart Ticketing platform, supporting both commercial and concessionary fare schemes, alongside its suite of ITSO, ABT (Account Based Ticketing), MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service), and rail ticketing solutions.

The contactless EMV solution, which allows passengers to tap in and out using a payment card, will be substantially accretive to Unicard’s capabilities. It enables the business to directly respond to needs of Local Authorities and transport operators. The comprehensive range of solutions caters directly to the deployment of multi-operator, multi-token, multi-modal services across trains, buses, e-Scooters and other forms of transport.

Unicard’s solutions have been adopted by over 70 Local and Regional Authorities in England and Scotland, including Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Transport Scotland, Mersey Travel and Solent Transport, as well as the provision of central back office for Rail Delivery Group. Unicard can now add Transport for Wales and, significantly, Transport for London (TfL) to the list.

The company aims to work with new customer Nottingham City Council to help support its Future Transport Zone (FTZ) ambitions, where the city council could benefit from Unicard’s experience with the rollout of MaaS for TfWM’s Swift travel scheme, and the MaaS and rail accreditation elements of Solent Transport’s Breeze travel App, in line with the respective FTZ programme aspirations.

Unicard has also signed a commercial agreement with Visa to use Cybersource, its global payments platform. This gives the company an opportunity to offer its services across international borders. However, its immediate focus remains expanding its footprint in the UK. 

Moving forward, customers will benefit from Unicard’s secure ticketing, identity, payments and data management capabilities to both companies’ customers. These include its MaaS-ready ITSO HOPS suite, Smart Office cardholder and customer management solution, mobile apps, ITSO integration tools, and accredited Rail Suite middleware platform for retailing UK rail tickets. In addition, as a cloud-first provider, Unicard plans to migrate all of Ecebs’ on-premise infrastructure to the cloud to provide more scalable and, ultimately, more cost-effective services to its customers.

Led by Sean Dickinson, CEO, Unicard is a provider of transport management solutions enabling Local Authorities and commercial transport operators to launch and manage their own smart ticketing schemes. Its portfolio of fully hosted and managed solutions support travel scheme expansion from single usage or concession to multi-modal and multi-operator configurations. The business is headquartered in the UK and has a technical development team based in Bulgaria.