Partner Press Release


Convenient, time-saving and hygienic: Cashless travel on the hvv bus with the prepaid card

Hamburg, 09 February 2022:

Improved punctuality through shorter waiting times at bus stops. More convenient, faster payment processes. Better protection against infection for passengers and driving personnel by reducing contacts. And greater safety for the driving personnel by eliminating the need for cash – these are all advantages of cashless bus ticket sales. Against this background, cash payment in VHH and HOCHBAHN buses will be replaced by cashless payment from the end of 2023. For this purpose – in addition to the digital options via app – a new payment method will be introduced: the hvv Prepaid Card.

Passengers without their own bank account, such as children, will then also be able to use the card for cashless bus and rail travel. From October 2022, the credit cards will be available at more than 1,000 sales outlets for everyday needs – and can be topped up at around 1,700 outlets in the future. It’s easy to use: load the card, select the ticket you want from a ticket machine on the subway or S-Bahn, or from a reader on the bus, buy it, and ride off.

The hvv Prepaid Card is a digital payment method that requires neither the internet, a computer or tablet, nor a smartphone. The credit card was developed and implemented for the hvv under the direction of Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH (VHH) together with Hamburger Hochbahn. Lekkerland, a wholesaler specializing in on-the-go consumption and a member of the Rewe Group, was won as a distribution partner. The BaFin-licensed payment institution epay acts as the technical service provider.

From the fall of 2022, the hvv prepaid card will be used to make payment in buses obsolete after a one-and-a-half-year transition phase. From then on, passengers will also be intensively informed about the new cashless payment method in the hvv by using campaigns, announcements and posters. In the coming summer, the hvv mobility advisory service for senior citizens will invite interested parties to advance consultation and testing of the new prepaid card, and will provide advice to senior citizens’ associations and associations for mobility-impaired and visually impaired people.

There is already a clear trend in the hvv toward cashless payment on buses. In Sweden, for example, e-tickets are the norm; when boarding the bus, the electronic ticket on the smartphone – or the prepaid card – is simply held up to a scanner. In Germany, too, cities such as Mainz and Berlin have already completely abolished cash on their buses. This is also a relief for tourists. One card can also be used to buy several tickets for one person or tickets for several people.

Available in retail stores and at ticket vending machines of the Hochbahn

In the future, the hvv Prepaid Card will be available at a low threshold at many kiosks and participating Rewe, Penny and Toom retail locations in the metropolitan region Hamburg as well as at the new ticket vending machines of the Hochbahn and especially in the surrounding area at many petrol station stores – and thus in the future at more than 1,000 sales points in and around Hamburg. In the future, it can be recharged at around 1,700 locations: In addition to the stores mentioned, also everywhere within the rail system, i.e. at all S-Bahn, AKN and DB Regio stations. The card itself is free of charge and can be topped up with a minimum credit of five euros and a maximum of 150 euros. Registration and the deposit of account or credit card data in a system are not necessary. The card is thus suitable, for example, for parents who want to enable their children to take spontaneous bus trips. When the card is paid for and topped up in cash, no personal data is collected from the passengers – just as is the case with current cash payments.

Contactless and hygienic

The hvv Prepaid Card is – not least against the background of the ongoing pandemic – more hygienic than cash that has passed through many hands. Another benefit: paying on the bus with the hvv Prepaid Card is quick. There is no need to search for the right change or wait for change. This means that the bus can move on more quickly and does not have to wait so long at the bus stop. Season ticket holders and subscribers, i.e. the majority of passengers, also benefit when everyone can pay more quickly and the bus continues its journey.


Another step towards the ‘Hamburg Takt’ strategy

„We want to inspire even more people to switch to public transport. To do this, it is important that payment processes and journeys are as fast, uncomplicated and convenient as possible. Digitization is helping us to advance the mobility revolution in this area. Cashless travel on buses shortens payment processes and travel times, noticeably increases the safety and hygiene of passengers and staff, and thus improves the overall quality of stay on buses.“

– Anjes Tjarks, Senator of the Authority for Transport and Mobility Transition

„Digitization makes hvv easier and even more attractive for all passengers. Occasional customers can already conveniently buy their tickets with the hvv app and the hvv switch app. The hvv prepaid card avoids time-consuming payment processes, reducing annoying waiting times at stops.“

– Dietrich Hartmann, Managing Director hvv

„Without cash handling on the bus, internal processes can be made leaner and distribution costs can be reduced. Another important aspect is the issue of security for the driving personnel. Assaults and robberies are no longer worthwhile if there is no cash on the bus.“

– Toralf Müller, Managing Director of Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH

Share article

Press contact

Jana Weisshaupt

PR & Communications

+49 89 899643-499

Hamburger Verkehrsverbund GmbH

Rainer Vohl

+49 40 / 32 57 75-122

Verkehrsbetriebe Hamburg-Holstein GmbH

Christina Sluga

+49 40 / 72 59 4-127

Behörde für Verkehr und Mobilitätswende

Dennis Krämer

+49 40 / 42 84 1-1685