RenegadeMonster wrote:However, with smartphones, credit cards and a CharlieCard replacement tied to an online account for pass management will it still be possible to get your passes paid for via payroll deduction pretax?
The current pretax Flexible Spending Account systems works in two ways, either by Commuter Checks, which are a pain because the person redeeming this benefit has to find a place that accepts them (the Charlie Card store is the main location that takes them). The checks can be "pay to the order of" either the MBTA, meaning that the person absolutely has to redeem them at the Charlie Card store and nowhere else, OR they can be issued to "Transit provider and/or transit fare vendor" which means they can use it at any retail fare vendors that may accept them (supermarkets for example).
The second system is a credit card that is tied to the FSA account. I have one of these myself as an employer benefit. The card costs the same for the MBTA to process as a regular credit card, and the issuer will decline all transactions that are made anywhere other than a transit provider. I've seen some people who were upset that they couldn't buy their monthly pass at the retail vendor because the purchase codes for the store, not as transit. They're able to use it at a FVM, Charlie Card Store, or Keolis ticket window.
I'd imagine with Charlie 2.0 that the FSA credit cards would simply include contactless chips and/or the companies administering these accounts (WageWorks is the largest one) make some arrangement with the MBTA to have those accounts linked to a Charlie 2.0 account.