Initiative to create engagement-internal/external

Pay Digitally in Mass Transit with Visa

Short summary of the project

  • Parking and traffic in Sofia capital have made it difficult to get around with a car for years, and therefore the role of public transport is becoming more and more important for the citizens and guests of Sofia. Pandemic led to health-oriented solutions, and increased life dynamic demands new, fast and safe opportunities to use public transport.
  • Visa – one of the global leaders in digital payments, in partnership with DSK Bank, Sofia Municipality and Urban Mobility Center introduced contactless payments in city transport of Sofia – both over ground and underground.
  • The innovation provides the residents of the capital Sofia and the numerous visitors from the country and abroad with the comfort enjoyed by the largest cities in the world. Almost 2 mln citizens and guests of Sofia can pay tickets daily by validating their contactless Visa card or connected device.
  • Among benefits of contactless payments in mass transit is that people can worry less about carrying cash or queuing for ticket and this saves also their time. Moving people in and around cities with digital payments also helps local businesses to be reached easily by consumers.
  • For Visa it is important the benefits of contactless payments to reach people and the service to be developed in other big cities.
  • Visa partners also with companies launching contactless payments solutions for electric vehicles charging (HOBO and Spark), and continues to develop new solutions for tolls and shared mobility services.


The communication problems to be solved:

  • Create awareness about contactless payments opportunities in public transport among very wide and diverse target audiences
    Overcome rooted negative sentiments and barriers towards contactless payments among consumers and thus support increased usage of the new service in the public transport
    Instigate interest of citizens of other big cities to new payment opportunity
  • Create and raise awareness and stimulate willingness among consumers to try the service by displaying the benefits and conveniences of digital payments in public transport•Address specific consumers’ concerns (identified based on surveys results and experts opinions)
  • Make parallel between Visa best practices implementation of contactless payments in mass transit of global megalopolises and Sofia thus making capital residents proud of their town
  • Represent positive consumers experience on local level
  • Turn Sofia into success story (incl. preventive risk mitigation steps) and utilize it’s best example for attracting other big cities to introduce contactless payments in mass transit
  • Direct communication to local authorities and decision-makers in targeted big cities outside Sofia•Use broad mix of channels – traditional, online, social media, nationa, regional, business, general and lifestyle, to reach wide spectrum of people who use the public transport

Strategic approach

To respond to existing challenges, we outlined the following strategic approach:

  • Selection of topics and formats that are of interest for ample circle of employees – entertainment, sports and well-being
  • Propose activities that will attract them to participate and engage personally – fests, sports competitions, education initiatives
  • Active participation of management in all activities

Project implementation

  • Identify potential risks monitor on daily basis traditional and social media and report to the client consumers sentiments, to prevent project compromising•4 press releases – 2 announcing the introducing of payments in over ground and underground transport and 2 concerning results of Visa survey on consumers’ sentiments•36 dedicated advertorials in main national print and online media in 28 media, representing all aspects of contactless payments in public transport for business and consumers•Communication of two Visa-commissioned surveys about consumers sentiments concerning contactless payments in public transport in Sofia in press releases and advertorials•Special media projects in Business Week magazine, Capital Weekly, 24 Hours Daily, The City magazine – interviews of Visa spokespersons and advertorials •Video about Sofia mass transit project with the participation of Visa Country Manager, Sofia City Council Chairman, DSK Bank manager and consumers who already experienced benefits of the new service. •Visa conference in collaboration with the National Association of the Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria for first-hand representation of digital payments in mass transit with participation of mayors of 26 regional cities and CEOs of municipal public transport companies. Display Visa expertise in other countries, setting of contacts for further business communication concerning future projects. Participated speakers from government, municipalities, Visa international spokespersons. Communication of conference – 1 press release and 4 articles, distributed to national, regional, business media and through the for communication channels of Visa partners – NAMRB, Sofia municipality, Center for Urban Mobility and DSK Bank. Attendees – 89, among them Deputy Minister of E-governance, Chairman of Sofia City Council regional cities mayors, deputy mayors, CEOs of public transport companies and their deputies.•Key note speech of Visa Country Manager at Urban Mobility Summit, organized by the City magazine•Micro influencers digital campaign with two prominent journalists Konstantin Vulkov and Mihail Dyuzev about HOBO e-scooters and Spark e-automobiles Visa promotions in Instagram – 6 posts and 6 stories each, promoting convenience and contribution for decrease of air pollution in the city. The campaign targeted young, active at work men and women (28-40y)•Dedicated advertorials campaign in media about HOBO scooters and Spark e-automobiles.

Project efficiency and results

  • Raised awareness about contactless payments in the public transport of Sofia from 31% (beginning of 2022) to 58% (end of 2022) – results are based on corresponding Visa surveys and data
  • Growth of percentage of public transport regular users of contactless payments in Sofia from 6% (beginning of 2022) to 28% (end of 2022)
  • Two pending projects for introducing of contactless payments in public transport in 2023 in two of Bulgaria biggest cities
  • 118 publications of press releases and 324,000 daily reach contributed to the awareness raising
  • 126,000 daily reach of dedicated advertorials and articles
  • Instagram campaign results – Mihail Dyuzev – 4.8K followers, 5.6% engagement rate (1K-5K), 629 likes; Konstantin Vulkov – 2.9K followers, 5.6% engagement rate (1K-5K), 353 likes