Oyster Card

Transport of London (TfL) has today announced that the capital's public transport network will accept contactless payments from September 16. Buses already support the payment method, while the London Overground, Underground, DLR and Tram networks will be upgraded. This will enable the general public to utilize their contactless payment cards or even a smartphone with NFC to access the transport network in London.

Working in a similar way to the pay as you go Oyster cards, the fare will be charged touching in and then out at the end of a journey (unless you're boarding a bus when it's just a single touch-in). The same daily or Monday to Sunday caps will still be in effect. However, if you find yourself purchasing Travelcards and season passes, you'll still need to use the trust blue card currently still in operation. That, and if you utilize NFC, you'll have to keep topping up supporting wallet apps.

A cool little side note for those who are with the mobile operator EE, the company's Cash on Tap for Android – which provides consumers with the opportunity to manage funds in a digital wallet – will support the wireless systems implemented by TfL. Do you view this move as an upgrade for the TfL network? Will you be using your wireless bank cards or opting to see how EE's solution interacts with the barriers? See the EE press release below for the mobile operator's app.

EE announces new Android app will support contactless payments with TfL

Friday 25th July, 2014: EE, the UK's most advanced digital communications company, today announced its customers will be able to travel on London's Underground, DLR and Overground networks using their mobile phone when TfL's contactless program launches on 16th September.

EE is the only UK network provider to offer a contactless payment service, and the extension of Cash on Tap to TfL's transport network will mean no more queuing to top-up an Oyster card, or rummaging around a handbag first thing in the morning. Developed in partnership with MasterCard, Cash on Tap will also avoid the issue of card clash – where gates may not open if customers have more than one contactless card in their purse or wallet.

The service will use EE's free Cash on Tap mobile contactless payment service app, which is due to be compatible with over 500,000 customers' handsets this year. There will be no added charges for using Cash on Tap to pay for travel, and both daily and weekly caps ensure customers won't pay a penny more than using an Oyster card.

Gerry McQuade, Chief Marketing Officer, EE said: "Users of the world's greatest tube network will shortly benefit from the latest in mobile payment technology, allowing them to use their phone to pay for their daily commute.

"As more and more people benefit from the simplicity, convenience and security that mobile contactless payments offer, it's rapidly becoming clear that the days of the physical wallet are fast becoming numbered."

Launched in partnership with MasterCard, the Cash on Tap app is available free via the Google Play store and compatible with a range of Android devices direct from EE, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z2. EE customers can already use their phone to pay in more than 300,000 shops across the country, including Marks & Spencer, McDonald's, Caffè Nero, Pret A Manger and Greggs.

Source: Pocket-lint


Reader comments

Transport for London rolling out contactless payment support this September


Good idea, but done in a bad way I would say. With NFC Host Card Emulation this shouldn't require a specific carrier or contract any longer.

Well, this is provider agnostic, as far as I can see. EE are just offering an already functional service to top up your NFC payments with your bill. Something no other provider has gotten their lazy thumbs out of their asses to fix yet. Because, you need to get your money in on the app somehow, and managing it through the provider makes it easier for younger people who doesn't yet own a debit card.

The best I can see from this is, it seems like they're slowly managing to get past the stranglehold of the old regime, the likes of VISA and MasterCard. Those old dinosaurs are most likely the main reason contactless payments haven't spread at any noticeable rate over the last few years because the money can flow right past them.

Unfortunately, for international travelers to London from the US, like myself, Oyster/Travelcards and passes are the only option. According to TFL, while most VISA/MasterCards will work with their system, they specifically will not work with physical or virtual cards (mobile app NFC) issued in the US from US Banks.

Oyster is safer, and only pre-pay on it with enough to get you by so don't link it to your card. Keep your Oyster away from your cards. TfL will and consistently do find any measure to swindle the public, and route them in to making uninformed errors to overcharge.
Probably one of the worst organisations on the planet. I feel so sorry for international visitors. I really do. I apologise on behalf of the country I live in.
It's not your money they are incompetent with. They are responsible for roads, signage, crossings - everything. They don't value your safety or your life.

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Having been on the trial now for about 3 or 4 weeks using my debit card I have to say I am already convinced. One less card to deal with and one less card to report lost or stolen etc is good in my view. I can't see 02 not jumping on this development no doubt another app with a tag line about being more Oyster or something. In terms of how it works its effectively the same as the Oyster system and there is a cap applied to you sit within a travel-card rate. I get the feeling and this is just my view that TFL would rather private enterprise take on the innovation and bringing to market these kind of things as it is a value for tax payer winner. I do remember previously it was only Barclay's that you could use on parts of TFL when they launched their first con tactless card - and now all are accepted to lets hope the same can be said for carriers/manufacturers (I am looking at you Apple) and they can all agree on one standard!