Contactless Payments Finally Rolled Out On London Tube Network

Sep 16, 2014

Underground passengers in London have been able to pay for their journeys using contactless bankcards from today, one year behind schedule.

This means passengers with a contactless bank card can ditch the Oyster Card system, the current method where commuters have to top up their payment card prior to their journey. Over the last few months, commuters have been urged to avoid accidentally paying twice in ("card clash") by assuring that only one of their cards touches the reader.

Transport for London (TfL), which manages the London underground network, will accept all UK-issued contactless cards, including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. Not all non-UK cards will be accepted, and passengers have been advised to check details with their suppliers.

Passengers who make multiple journeys in one day will not pay more than the price of a day travel card. A payment cap on those traveling Monday to Sunday has also been introduced for those using contactless cards, so they will automatically get the best value over the course of the week.

Over 800,000 customers for 17 million journeys have used contactless card payments on London's bus system since its introduction in December 2012. The contactless underground payment system was tested in April by approximately 5,000 customers.

Barclaycard introduced the OnePulse, a combined credit and Oyster Card, in 2007 and helped to introduce contactless payments on London buses. The company says there were almost no negative experiences with the technology, with the only real issue being card clash.

Philip McHugh, the CEO of Barclaycard Business Solutions told TechWeekEurope, "The most developed market for [contactless] is the UK, so we see it as a very positive trend and we're excited to see where it goes. It will be one of many ways for consumers to make payments and we want to help facilitate that."

McHugh believes contactless transactions will increase from £5.5 million to £2 billion this year, and he says the UK is ripe for expansion. Customers are still able to use Oyster Cards if they wish, and there is currently no plan to phase them out.


Author: Zak Thomas
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