By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Patco riders will be able to pay their fare with a tap of a credit card, beginning Monday. Patco stations have been equipped to recognize the chip in so-called “contactless” Visa, Discover, and MasterCard’s.

Contactless cards have a computer chip and antenna, in addition to the familiar magnetic strip. They’re a fairly new option for credit card holders and they’re distinguished by a little graphic symbol of radio waves.

Patco worked with Cubic Systems to enable its software to recognize the cards. Cubic vice president Steve Brunner says that puts it ahead of other transit agencies.

“Patco’s ahead of most places in North America. Everybody wants to go to what we call ‘open payment’ and be able to use your credit card or even your mobile phone so Patco went to a contactless fare card a few years ago – the Freedom Card – and that kind of enabled them to support these transactions.

One agency Patco’s ahead of is SEPTA, which is hoping to convert to card readers in the summer of next year.

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