On August 30th, Visa and Chase launched their ‘Tap to Ride’ campaign. For every payment made using a Chase Visa contactless card on MTA subways and buses, the companies have promised to donate 10 cents to nonprofit New York Cares — up to $250,000.
New York Cares is the largest volunteer organization in the city, working with over a thousand nonprofits, organizations and schools all over the city, and managing over 1,500 volunteer projects, covering both environmental and social causes. According to a Visa spokesperson, the nonprofit played a big role in serving the community during the pandemic, distributing 44 million meals since March 2020.
As part of their campaign, the companies have onboarded Saquon Barkley, running back for the New York Giants, to promote the cause.
The campaign is taking place in the midst of the back-to-office vibes seeping into the city. Slowly but surely, New Yorkers are getting out of their home offices and back into subways.
As of August, 23% of Manhattan employees have returned to the office — higher than the 12% back in May. During August, subway ridership in New York City was around half of what it was pre-pandemic times — the highest it’s been since the outbreak.
Meanwhile, contactless pay continues to gain momentum. Over 80% of consumers used contactless payments during the 12-month period starting May 2020, according to a report by Raydiant, a digital signage management platform.
According to Visa, there are now 370 million tap-to-pay enabled Visa cards. In the US, 25% of in-person Visa payments are made through tap. In New York, it’s 30%.
On the commuter side of things, 88% of riders expect contactless payment options on transit, according to Visa’s Future of Urban Mobility Study.
“For public transit operators everywhere, contactless is now a necessity as individuals expect digital experiences wherever they go, and are looking for safe and convenient ways to get around,” said a Visa spokesperson.
The context helps set the scene for Chase and Visa’s campaign. Tying the Chase Visa contactless card to a good cause helps incentivize people to adopt it as a payment method. Using it on a daily basis for commuting purposes also makes it feel more habitual.
“Because the non-profit is local to NYC, there’s a community identity angle here,” said Tracey Wallace, a marketing consultant and director of marketing at MarketerHire, a digital marketing talent platform. “Why wouldn’t a rider use their card to hop on the train or bus quicker and give back to their community at the same time? And it’s all enabled by Visa and Chase – making your life easier and you a better person along the way.”
The campaign also serves a purpose for the companies in another way. Both Visa and Chase have been taking steps to emphasize their efforts towards inclusiveness and equality.
Chase has made a series of acquisitions this year highlighting a focus on financial inclusion and ESG values.
A few days ago, Chase bought college planning platform Frank, a tool that helps students and parents negotiate financial aid and find scholarships and enroll in online classes. In June, the company acquired Nutmeg, a digital wealth manager. Later that month, it also acquired OpenInvest, an ESG investing platform to help its financial advisors customize clients’ investments in ESG.
Visa, meanwhile, recently launched its ‘Meet Visa’ campaign, which among other things aims to position the company as a key player in financial equality and inclusiveness — its new symbol is similar to that of the global sign for equality.
By donating to New York Cares, Chase and Visa are able to emphasize the role they play in helping the community.
“Chase and Visa understand our emotional desires for convenience and generosity. The fact that the non-profit program will also help their brand is the cherry on top,” said Wallace.
The campaign is set to end this week. So far, the companies have made it past the halfway mark for the $250 thousand set to go to New York Cares.
“This is a direct result of riders choosing to tap to ride with a Chase Visa contactless card on their bus or subway journey on the MTA, and we’re excited to continue to support this safe return to transit and the ongoing recovery of New York City,” said the spokesperson for Visa.