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Stadtwerke Augsburg put everything on one All-in-one Customer Card!

Use Cases | By PR RFID im Blick | 14 December 2015

A customer card increases loyalty: the fact that 98,000 have been issued with RFID speaks for itself

The “swa KAROCARD” currently provides an allin- one discount card for the people of Augsbury, Germany, to use for shopping, public transport or cashless payments at the FC Augsburg stadium. Introduced in 2003, the customer loyalty card, which has been running on RFID-technology since 2008, is a great success, with more than 98,000 cards issued. The product has continued to develop: additional applications have been regularly implemented, such as bike rental or e-charging stations from 2010 or discounted admission tickets to the municipal baths from 2014.

Jürgen Weidenbacher, Head of Processes and Applications, Stadtwerke Augsburg Energy, interviewed by “RFID im Blick”

All-in-one – from electrical refuelling to shopping

Augsburg inhabitants using energy and/or public transport services benefit from having the “SWA KAROCARD” in their lives. Since its introduction, customers have received benefits from 2,000 partners over the years – when shopping, going to the swimming baths, renting a bike, going to the zoo, in the stadium, for electrical refuelling or at festivals. Companies and service providers in Augsburg and in the whole of Germany accept the “SWA KAROCARD”. Each customer chooses the card functions they want to use. The card can also be used as public transport ID and for cashless payments in the stadium.

The card supports customer loyalty

Stadtwerke Augsburg Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of the City of Augsburg, relaunched its customer loyalty programme in 2008. As part of this, the contactless card was also introduced, as the responsible Project Manager Jürgen Weidenbacher reports. Premium customers who have a year-long contract with the Stadtwerke have received the all-inone discount card with an integrated RFID chip. “This card is a perfect complement to our customer loyalty programme. Enormous trust is placed in Stadtwerke Augsburg. The discount card acts as identification and connects us with customers in the region”, Weidenbacher explains the success of the concept.

Jürgen WeidenbacherJ. Weidenbacher “The all-in-one card is a perfect complement to our customer loyalty programme. Identification with the “Stadtwerke Augsburg” brand becomes even stronger, as do the regional ties.”

A payment function plus an electronic ticket combined in one RFID card

The “swa KAROCARD” combines five applications within an all-in-one card: the RFID card can be used as an e-ticket for Augsburg Stadtwerke public transport, for authentication at echarging stations and for cashless payment when buying food and drink at Football Bundesliga Club FC Augsburg’s stadium during home matches. After registering for the electronic payment system, stadium visitors can add credit to the card online via the customer portal, 48 hours before kick-off. Stadtwerke Augsburg customers also benefit when shopping and while taking part in leisure activities. They get “Plärrer” discounts for rides and refreshments at the big Swabian festival, the Augsburg “Plärrer”. The “swa KAROkids” guarantee discounts for special children‘s events, such as reduced admission to the famous marionette theatre “Augsburger Puppenkiste”.

The gradual, on-going integration of services

The various “SWA KAROCARD” features offering different services were integrated bit by bit, as Weidenbacher reports: “We started in 2008 by merging energy discount cards and public transport e-tickets. In 2009, the cashless payment system for the stadium was introduced. Since the new FC Augsburg stadium was opened, it has been possible to use the card as a stadium e-wallet. In 2011, electro-mobility and bikerental features were added, in 2014 the Augsburg swimming baths joined as a partner. It has been a great success: since 2008, 98,000 cards have been in circulation and actively used. Public transport ticketing has been regularly used by around 40,000 users. There is the potential to build in even more applications in the future.

Privacy is paramount for e-wallet transactions in the stadium

“In order to properly implement a customer loyalty system, the balance between inovation, the desire to benefit the customer and data security is crucial. The freedom to run the system independently also involves obligations. A safe method of identification is vital. We attach great importance to data protection and security”. All applications on the card are separate. Each application is individually protected by different passwords, permitting only authorised people to read the card. The Augsburg card uses the master token system from LEGIC. “The payment feature is designed as a separate e-wallet, which can be used only in the stadium. Stadium visitors who are not customers of the Augsburg Stadtwerke receive an anonymous FCA-Fan card, with the same content but only one function. If the customer card gets lost, the credit on it is not lost, so the value – in this case kept anonymous – gets transferred to the system and the newly issued replacement “swa KAROCARD”.

A pioneering multi-application product – and an inspiring idea for others

“The concept ‘swa KAROCARD’ is absolutely unique, and we were the first municipal utility company to implement a multiapplication card with public transport e-ticketing in Germany, as far as we know. This concept has been picked up by others in different cities”, says Weidenbacher, explaining: “The card is not based on the VDV core application, which at the time of the introduction was not capable of dealing with multiapplications. As a public transport operator, we went our own way. When planning the public transport student semester ticket or cashless payment system, the Stadtwerke Augsburg had wanted to work cooperatively with universities, colleges and student administration bodies, but a second wallet with another billing service provider, such as a bank or Sparkasse, would then have been necessary. “Nevertheless, the idea has borne fruit: the “Hochschule” and the University of Augsburg has now adopted the same technology and has launched its own solution for a Mensa-wallet, with the help of our consulting company”, says the Project Manager.

Last modified on Monday, 14 December 2015 09:23
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