UK-based transport ticketing provider Unicard has announced its acquisition of smart ticketing specialists Ecebs from global payments giant Visa.

The deal was made with the aim of enabling Unicard to offer a more comprehensive range of solutions in the UK and abroad.

According to Unicard, Ecebs’ contactless EMV solution, which allows passengers to tap in and out using a payment card, will significantly enhance its capabilities.

It allows the company to immediately respond to the demands of local governments and transportation providers.

Unicard CEO Sean Dickinson explained: “Acquiring Ecebs has strengthened Unicard’s position in the smart travel market, and significantly extends our capabilities and footprint. We’re committed to delivering accessible, inclusive and integrated ticketing solutions for both our new and existing customers, while also helping them deliver new, innovative smart travel schemes.”

“Unicard has a strong heritage in the industry, but it’s important for us to retain Ecebs’ expert knowledge and market insight to continue providing high-quality products and services to all our customers and their passengers.”

Why it matters

More than 70 local and regional authorities in England and Scotland have signed up to Unicard’s solutions, including Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), Transport Scotland, Mersey Travel, and Solent Transport.

Unicard claimed its customers will benefit from the future secure ticketing, identification, payments, and data management capabilities provided by the acquisition.

This includes its Mobility-as-a-Service-ready ITSO HOPS suite, Smart Office cardholder and customer management system, mobile apps, ITSO integration tools, and approved train Suite middleware platform for retailing UK train tickets.

Furthermore, as a cloud-first provider, Unicard intends to transition all of Ecebs’ on-premise infrastructure to the cloud to provide clients with more scalable and cost-effective services.