The card reader software, which is currently used for TfL’s contactless Oyster smartcard, will be upgraded throughout 2011 to support contactless credit and debit cards issued by Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Contactless payments will be accepted on all London’s buses, tubes and trams as well as DLR and overground trains by the end of 2012.
Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said, "It is tip-top news that from next year a simple tap of a contactless bank card will be enough to whizz you from A to B in this great city."
"London leads the way in so many different fields and we will be the first in the world to allow the millions using our tubes, trams, busses and trains to benefit from the ease of using this technology," he added.
Cubic Transportation Systems took over TfL's ticketing operations under a Future Ticketing Agreement (FTA) contract in August 2010, and will support Oyster and other ticketing services for TfL until 2013.
Security features of contactless payments will be adapted for London transport, meaning customers will not have to enter a PIN number at a busy station gate. When fully rolled out, the technology will also work for cards issued by overseas banks.
TfL says discussions are taking place with other train operating companies about extending contactless payment cards to National Rail services where Oyster is currently used.