The Oyster card could be replaced by mobile phone and bankcard ticketing systems, Transport for London told the London Assembly yesterday.
The Oyster system is the ticketing system for public transport in London. It uses smartcards, which are topped up with cash and communicate with card readers using RFID technology.
The company announced in August it is terminating its contract with supplier consortium Transys, which has provided Oyster ticketing until now. The company says it hopes to save millions of pounds by moving to a "more conventional" contract.
Will Judge, head of future ticketing at TfL, said tickets could be delivered via smartcards, like the current system, or on a phone or bankcard. He added that TfL would not develop the new system in-house, but use outside suppliers. The Oyster name may be replaced, he added.
TfL is also looking at whether Oyster can be integrated into other parts of London's transport system. Oyster cards will be usable on riverboat services next year.
Mr Judge was speaking at the Assembly's budget and performance committee.