Dubai to launch virtual Nol transit card in 2020

A person using an NFC phone as a virtual Nol card
VIRTUAL CARD: Visitors to Dubai will be able to use NFC transit ticketing from next year

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority is to introduce a mobile version of its Nol transit card next year, enabling both tourists and local residents to use their NFC phones to travel on metro, tram, bus and maritime public transportation services.

“The Nol Virtual Card is planned to be launched in the third quarter of 2020, followed by subsequent stages through which all the functions of the current Nol card will be introduced to it,” the RTA says.

NFC transit ticketing has been available in Dubai since 2013 but until now has been restricted to Nol transit card holders who have a contract with a local mobile network operator.

The new system will allow travellers to load a digital-only Nol Virtual Card onto their NFC smartphone, add credit to their account from their phone and then use it to pay for their fares.

The RTA also signed a contract last week with Mastercard for a study into the viability of adding the ability for passengers to use their bank cards to pay their fare.