Contactless card payments to be accepted across entire TFL network

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Contactless card payments to be accepted across entire TFL network

Caroline Baldwin

Transport for London (TfL) will begin accepting contactless card payments from 16 September 2014.

Passengers on the London tube network will be able to pay for journeys using contactless debit or credit cards in the same way that Oyster cards are used.

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Customers will use contactless card to touch in and out at the ticket barriers of tube stations. They will also be subjected to fare capping, in which TfL will automatically calculate the best value for passengers. 

But TfL is reminding customers to avoid “card clash” by only touching in and out with one card at a time, because the card readers become confused when they recognise multiple cards in a wallet.

Accepting contactless cards as payment has come about following a successful pilot of 3,000 customers, which began in April.

TfL said it has worked closely with the payment card industry, including The UK Cards Association, American Express, MasterCard, Visa Europe and Barclaycard, on the development of contactless payment card acceptance on the TfL network.

Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, said offering contactless payments will make it easier and more convenient for customers to pay for travel.

“The pilot has been a success, with participants giving us really useful feedback,” she said. “This is the latest step in making life easier for our customers by using modern technology to offer the best service possible.”

Payments giant Visa is already predicting one million Visa contactless journeys on London’s underground in the first week of launch.

According to Sandra Alzetta, executive director, Visa Europe consumers are already expecting a broad choice of payment options in every aspect of their life. “With the ease, speed and convenience of paying with a contactless card, Brits are already making over 20 million Visa contactless purchases each month with 40 million Visa contactless cards.”

Contactless debit and credit cards are already accepted on London buses. Earlier this summer, the bus network stopped accepting cash because 99% of journeys were being paid for using Oyster or debit/credit contactless cards.

Contactless payments technology does not just restrict passengers to Oyster and credit or debit cards, but it will recognise mobile contactless payments.

Currently, EE is the only UK operator providing contactless payments as a service on mobile devices through its Android Cash on Tap application, which it will extend to incorporate TfL’s transport network.


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