London Underground

With NFC on your smartphone, using it to pay for your morning commute across London may be getting closer to reality. According to a report in the Financial Times, carriers EE and Vodafone have already begun talks with Transport for London over extending their mobile wallet solutions to pay for your travel.

The initial trial is expected to be a “pay as you go” scheme using apps owned by the mobile operators that can be preloaded with money. Operators could also consider payment for tickets on a weekly or monthly basis, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The barriers at London Underground stations will work with smartphones for NFC payments, though that facility would need to be activated first. With the successful Oyster card scheme costly for TfL to run, they're opening up to other methods of contactless payments for travellers.

Source: Financial Times


Reader comments

Transport for London looking to introduce smartphone based fare payments


I live in Los Angeles that as a NFC type "TAP" card. Having it directly paid from my phone would be awesome.

Well, wondering if UK Three will take part... Would be awesome, Oyster is so difficult to maintain if your travelling to London only from time to time...

This would be an awesome bump to get NFC more mainstream. Wonder if it would play nice with Google Wallet? Since they already went to a few carriers, I'm sure they'll block Wallet as much as possible like carriers do here.

I'd love to see the uproar on the Apple forums about this...

Is there any reason why this would need to be provided by the carriers? Wouldn't it be better for TfL to just make the app themselves, then it'll work for anyone with an NFC phone, and be consistent for everyone

I should say that cost is a key player here. If TFL can remove the cost of delivey to us Londoners by shifting the transaction to third parties it represents a massive saving in staff and other costs which far out way the 85p wholesale physical card they use. It is quite a feat to get other companies both manufactures of devices and networks (and better not forget the financial sector) tripping over themselves to bring out a useful digital wallet to suit the average (Londoner) man on the street. Without wanting to get into a political discussion the Mayor (to save debate I will say that I mean the office rather than holder) has been aggressively peesuing private business to fund many things - phase 2 of Boris Bikes' funding was announced premeturely by the mayor as the Libor scandle was hittibg the media so one can't help but feel that this may have been started as a plan a while ago. The end is the customer either pays through the phone and or provider or bank and they get a value added feature from said company. Besides will apple adopt NFC they haven't so far. As to when its happening regulation and administration will all demand their fair number of man hours so near but not far future.

Just wondering I know some android phones have NFC ie galaxy s3, nexus 5 etc but can iPhones do this?

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What's an iPhone? Seriously now, the iPhone doesn't have NFC the same way it doesn't have SD slot or a good map app:-)

The panda has spoken

We have contactless payment system here in NJ as well but the Port Authority (agency running the train system between NJ and NY) is more concerned with covering Christie's @ss from the bridgegate scandal....

The panda has spoken

I'd be delighted if they allow the monthly pass for this, then I can stop worrying about forgetting my Oyster every morning, since I always worry about forgetting my phone anyway.

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TfL arlrady accept contactless debit / credit cards on busses with tube / rail soon. I can't see this being too big a leap. It just means the phone companies processing the journey information and passing that onto your bank or debiting it from you phone bill. This will come in handy espically as buses are going cashless in the summer so you will need an oyster / contactless card etc...