London transport network to accept contactless bank cards

London transport network to accept contactless bank cards

Transport for London has confirmed plans to upgrade all Oyster card readers across the capital to work at the touch of a bank-issued debit and credit card.

Under the system, passengers will be able to use their contactless bank cards to touch in and out for pay as you go travel on the bus, Tube, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Tram and London Overground network.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says: "We will be the first in the world to allow the millions using our Tube, trams, buses and trains to benefit from the ease of using this technology.'

The new system will be up and running on all of London's 8000 buses in time for the 2012 Olympic Games, and rolled out onto the Tube, DLR, Tram and London Overground network before the end of 2012.

Discussions are also under way with the Train Operating Companies that serve London about whether contactless payment cards could be used on National Rail services where Oyster is currently accepted.

The switch to contactless bank card payments will reduce commissions and processing costs for TfL, as well as enabling a reduction in the number of Oyster cards produced and issued.

TfL says it is also in talks with transport operators around the world to share information and experience on using this technology on their systems.

The move is likely to provide a serious incentive for all UK banks to implement a switch to contactless cards. Around 10 million contactless cards have been issued in the UK so far with both NatWest and Barclays launching cards in 2007 and Halifax later. Others, such as HSBC, Nationwide and Santander, have so far abstained on the introduction of the feature.

Comments: (5)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 February, 2011, 12:42Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

What about mobile payments? Are TfL people really talking ONLY about bank cards? With Samsung and O2 already co-operating on NFC-based payments, with iPhone5 (and its NFC capabilities) on its way and with the new upcoming version of Android OS being NFC-ready, could TfL miss out on this evolution?

Elizabeth Lumley
Elizabeth Lumley - Girl, Disrupted - Crayford 24 February, 2011, 13:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

At Cartes last year, TFL said they were moving from a single application card (Oyster) to a multi-application system (one that will accept transit pass from MasterCard, Amex, Visa etc...) With this system, if a mobile is enabled with a transit pass function, such as MasterCard's PayPass, then they can use their mobile to pay for transit services. There is a Finextra video on this in the Live channel. 

Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson - Lockstep Consulting - Sydney 24 February, 2011, 19:44Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Not a week goes by without another horror story about security problems in smartphones: Passwords that aren't secure; apps that are really Trojans; banks that have to recall their new apps.  Payment cards on the other hand have tight simple little software models that are verifiably secure.  M-payments is the Wild West: pressure to release product trumps good security, and the results are embarassing.  If I were TFL, I would walk before I run; I would wait until the m-payments movement gets its security act together.  The last thing a transport operator needs is to be dragged into a payments system snafu not of their own making. They have enough customer agitation as it is.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 24 February, 2011, 22:58Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

If I had a choice between a NFC-enabled iPhone (clearly not yet available) or continued use of a MiFare Classic (48bit) Oyster Card - I'd take my chances with the mobile!  It's time for the luddites to accept that mobile is the future.

Alan Laird
Alan Laird - ADL Card Systems - London 26 February, 2011, 22:00Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

One problem with contactless is when you have multiple contactless cards in one wallet.  Will TFL offer the user the option of registering one specific card for transportation be it bank issued or Oyster?  This problem can only get more frustrating for the card holder when our mobile phones are NFC enabled.