Transport for London’s contactless card payment scheme goes live today, enabling customers to pay for London Underground, overground, trams and DLR journeys using contactless bank cards.
The contactless payment system means travellers no longer need to spend time topping up Oyster cards, as they can pay using near-field communications (NFC) technology in the same way they can pay for goods in retail stores.
“Contactless payments on our buses have already been a resounding success, with customers using their contactless payment cards to pay their bus fare around 20 million times,” said Shashi Verma, director of customer experience at Transport for London (TfL).
The adult pay-as-you go fare will be the same on contactless cards as it is on an adult Oyster card. But the issue of "card clash" – whereby more than one card can be charged if they are placed near a contactless reader – is still something passengers are being warned to avoid.
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Earlier this year, London buses stopped accepting cash in favour of Oyster or contactless card payments. Around 69,000 payments are made each day via this method, according to TfL. Visa Europe found that contactless transactions have increased by 189% since May 2013, with more than 90 million contactless transactions made in the UK.
According to a Financial Times report, TfL is in talks with mobile operators, including EE and Vodafone, to extend contactless payments further by allowing customers to pay for journeys with their NFC-enabled mobile devices.