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Spin now supports cash payments and no-smartphone operation

Buy a gift card, text to activate, text to unlock a bike

Courtesy of Spin

Two of Seattle’s bike-share programs no longer require credit cards. On Wednesday, Spin announced their “Spin Access” program, which makes cash payments and smartphone-less operations possible for their shared orange bikes.

Under Spin’s new program, users can buy a gift card at a point-of-sale location, the kind “where you can scratch off the code and use it,” Spin co-founder Derrick Ko told Curbed Seattle.

“A large number of people” use non-smartphones, said Ko, or even prepaid phone. “This is our way of addressing that large market to serve its needs.”

Cards can be bought in $10 increments, and those with a valid Orca Lift reduced fare card get half off, paying $5 for $10 worth of rides. “Orca LIFT already does the income qualification,” explains Ko. “We’ll just ride on that and extend the discount they already have to what we’re trying to do.”

The first—and currently only—card sale location is Columbia City’s Bikeworks, which encourages accessible and affordable cycling. “We made a very conscious choice to find the right partners with a great reception and demand for bikes,” said Ko. “That’s why we started with this location and we’re looking to partner with more points of sale along the city.”

“That’s about extending the accessibility and equitability of this program,” he added.

After buying a card, the user texts the card’s code to a special number to associate the balance with their phone number. When the user wants to pick up a bike, they text the bike’s code to the same number.

The announcement comes less than a week after Limebike announced cash payments and call-to-unlock capability. Unlike Spin’s program, Limebike’s sale location is north of the ship canal at their Wallingford offices—and users call to unlock instead of texting.