Cal-ITP: California Integrated Travel Project

Fact sheet: Enhancing the transit experience with Bank On accounts

The California Integrated Travel Project (Cal-ITP), in its continuous effort to improve transit experiences for all Californians, is excited to introduce transit agencies to the Bank On Initiative. Bank On accounts, specifically designed to serve the unbanked and underbanked, are bank and credit union accounts that can be used on transit along with any other type of everyday purchase.

What is Bank On?

Bank On is an initiative by the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund that supports efforts to connect consumers to safe and affordable banking accounts. Bank On has developed model account standards for low-fee banking accounts and, when banks and credit unions meet these standards, are certified as Bank On accounts. There are currently over 400 certified accounts available with 46,000 branches nationwide. Recognizing that approximately 1 in 4 people in California are unbanked or underbanked, Bank On works to bridge the gap, especially for communities disproportionately affected. Namely, Bank On standards tackle a lot of the issues that hinder access to the financial system for unbanked and underbanked populations, including high fees and tedious account opening requirements.

Transit agencies play a pivotal role in the daily lives of many, especially lower-income individuals. With the introduction of contactless open-loop payment acceptance by Cal-ITP, there’s an opportunity to consider financial inclusion initiatives like Bank On. By doing so, transit agencies can ensure that even those who have traditionally been left out of the mainstream financial system can benefit from the convenience and security of contactless payments. For more information on other features of accessible banking visit our Minimum Account Requirements for Transit Riders memo.

What are the benefits of Bank On Accounts for Transit Agencies?

Transit agencies are at the forefront of technological advancements in transportation, in an era where efficiency, safety and the user experience are paramount. Embracing contactless payments through EMV technology is no longer just an option—it’s a necessity. This shift not only streamlines operations, but also removes critical barriers for users, ensuring a seamless and secure transit experience. Partnering with Bank On accounts further amplifies these benefits and offers a myriad of advantages for integration:

  • Enabling Contactless Payments: With the rise of digital technologies and the need for safe, contact-free transactions, Bank On accounts facilitate easy contactless payments, allowing passengers to board and travel without the hassle of physical tickets.
  • Enhanced Security: Digital contactless payments are secure, reducing risks associated with handling cash and mitigating potential fraud.
  • Sustainability: By promoting digital transactions, we can collectively work towards reducing paper waste associated with traditional ticketing systems.
  • Reaching a Wider Demographic: Many Californians remain unbanked or underbanked due to the various barriers mentioned above. By promoting Bank On accounts, you can cater to this significant population, making transit more inclusive and accessible.
  • Financial Empowerment: Bank On accounts are not just about transactions. They are tools of financial empowerment. By informing users about these accounts, you are indirectly promoting financial literacy and independence. What does that mean in practice? Someone who has a bank account can know their money is in a secure place, set up direct deposit at their job and avoid check cashers, whilst building a relationship with a financial institution.

Join the Movement!

By promoting Bank On accounts, transit agencies can play a crucial role in making financial services accessible to all. Let’s collaborate to make public transit in California more inclusive, efficient, and user-friendly.

For more information about Bank On accounts, please reach out to Cal-ITP at [email protected].