MasterCard, TfL and British Airways join for travel tech hackathon

The payments provider is running the event alongside BA and the UK local government body responsible for London’s transport system to create new travel services

MasterCard has partnered with Transport for London (TfL) and British Airways (BA) to run a travel technology hackathon designed to create innovative services for travellers.

Participants will be encouraged to build travel-based applications which can be enabled through MasterCard’s payments processes.

“We are scouring London for the best talent, to help build a travel app that will enhance our journeys as consumers as we navigate our way from A to B,” said Elliott Goldenberg, head of digital payments at MasterCard UK & Ireland.  

Dubbed the ‘Trip Hack’, over 100 UK-based participants, including coders, developers and designers, will gather for the three-day event in Shoreditch, London.

Contactless card and phone-enabled payments have changed the way people travel in cities, with peak times seeing more than one million Visa contactless payments made to travel in London each day.

Transport for London already utilises contactless systems on all of its tubes and buses, allowing commuters to use their contactless payment methods in the same way they would use their Oyster card.

Goldenberg said the increase in contactless payment technology has already changed people’s daily lives and in the last month of 2015 alone, 52 contactless payments were made each second across the UK.

Moreover, he argued, the travel and payments industries need to be on the lookout for situations where the technology could make progress.

As part of the event, contestants will be split into groups of six and given access to MasterCard, BA and TfL application programming interfaces (APIs) to help develop their travel ideas.

Each team’s entry will be judged, with the winning team receiving £10,000 and business support from startup supporter the Traveltech Lab, as well as a chance to pitch their travel application during London Technology Week.

This is one of the several technology innovation projects for MasterCard. In 2015, the firm launched a pilot to test facial, voice and fingerprint authentication for payments, as well as participating in events such as Girls4Tech and Masters of Code.

In early 2016, the payment providers led a Fashion and Design event in New York with the aim of developing payments technologies led by creativity and design.

Read more about MasterCard

  • MasterCard has committed to developing its India-based workforce with its latest technology hub in Pune.
  • MasterCard is deploying AI software, created by one of the IT startups it supports.

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