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TfL warns Apple Pay users of fines for flat batteries

17 July 2015  |  14976 views  |  18 Apple Pay uk

Transport for London is warning Apple Pay users that they could end up paying over the odds for tube journeys if their iPhone batteries run flat.

Apple Pay launched in the UK earlier this week, with its compatibility with London's public transport system trumpeted as a major selling point.

However, TfL has issued a statement urging passengers to make sure they have enough battery on their iPhones and Apple Watches before embarking on journeys.

If the device runs out of battery in the middle of a rail journey, travellers will not be able to touch out at the end and could be charged a maximum fare. In addition, flat batteries could see penalty fares levied against those approached by inspectors.

TfL is also telling Apple Pay users to always use the same device to avoid incomplete journeys. Meanwhile, contactless and Oyster cards should be kept out of phone cases to guard against card clash.

Meanwhile, on Twitter there have been grumblings about the slowness of Apple Pay compared to Oyster, as well as the odd complaint about using Touch ID in the sweltering summer heat.

KeywordsEFTPOS

Comments: (18)

Andreas Rindler
Andreas Rindler - Bearingpoint - London | 17 July, 2015, 06:19 Losing power has always been a concern for m-payments, but that's why people will not just ditch their wallet but have a backup form of payment (credit, debit, cash) with them. Most debit and credit cards are now contactless. So users need to make sure to only add contactless cards to ApplePay in order to use that physical card for touching out when the iPhone powers down! Alternatively use a Payband from Barclaycard...
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Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global | 17 July, 2015, 09:00 The consumer proposition for mobile wallets is "leave you physical wallet at home". These sorts of teething issues I would expect, and battery power is improving and consumer behaviours to keeping it charged also improving. Of course Apple could lower the entry point price for chargers like in the days of the old adapter!! The fingerprint thing is really annoying however. Seems it doesn't like it if you're a bit sweaty, clearly a challenge if you come out of the London Underground nearly half of the year...
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Ashish Tewari
Ashish Tewari - Tori Global - London | 17 July, 2015, 09:39

One major point to take care of is the time taken to pay using Apple Pay at tube entry gates. It is still slower than contactless/Oyster with added frustration of sweaty hands. I have been using the Apple Pay for past few days in and around London. My experience has been that though phone wakes up immediately near the POS terminal but the sweaty finger/thumb posed a challenge few times. Taking out physical wallet was a need but I believe as various companies refine their process and mode of acceptance, Apple Pay or any equivalent form of pay will become widely acceptable. Hey, even Oyster in the wake of contactless is facing gradual extinction.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 17 July, 2015, 09:48

If apple pay uses a token, - how can you use the same contactless card to check out if the battery of the  IPhone you checked in with goes flat or if you are unable to Fingerprint authenticate into your phone?   I dont think TFL are going to be able to connect apple pay (in) with contactless (out), but please correct me if you know the answer...   Applefanboys will persist where users of other first time failures would abandon.... Apart from #neveragain, obviously.  I wont be leaving my wallet at home for the forseeable future! 

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Stanford Rusike
Stanford Rusike - VeriFone (UK) - London | 17 July, 2015, 09:52

Its no shame to use your ApplePay phone in the tube. I suggest using the wider family gates/slow lanes until someone figures out how to make the tube experience with ApplePay faster... at least there you wont risk being bundled over.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 17 July, 2015, 09:56 That would be a headline - Applepay users please use the slow lane!!
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Matt Scott
Matt Scott - RenovITe Technologies Inc - London | 17 July, 2015, 09:59 ApplePay uses Tokenised payment data - therefore there is no way to tap in on one and tap out on the other without being charged twice the maximum fine/penalty. Actually - for a UICC/USIM based Secure Element approach you can use the Payment Application even if the device has a flat battery - but you will not be able to change your default Payment Application (obviously). Both EE Cash on Tap and Vodafone Wallet use this Issuance form factor.
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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 17 July, 2015, 10:04

That confirms my thoughts on the matter. Surely you cant use the payment application in an Iphone6 or watch if you are unable to unlock the  device due to flat battery? that would negate the whole security layer

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Matt Scott
Matt Scott - RenovITe Technologies Inc - London | 17 July, 2015, 10:20 Once the battery is flat ApplePay is useless (this uses embedded secure element and relies on fingerprint biometrics to allow the payment to be executed). Using UICC/USIM approach you just tap and go - even if the battery is flat. Obviously for high value contactless transactions (over £20 or £30 in Q4 2015) you will need the device to be powered as there is a feedback loop for a user to acknowledge and authenticate. But for TFL usage this will never be an issue.
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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 17 July, 2015, 10:54

Flat battery is a relative concept with Apple Pay. TECHNICALLY they could have still allowed for NFC to be used with a DEFAULT card when the battery "dies", i.e. when the screen goes black (if you catch my drift...).

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Matt Scott
Matt Scott - RenovITe Technologies Inc - London | 17 July, 2015, 10:59 I work with technical reality. The reality is: fruity devices can't pay for anything if they are flat - and I agree - this is by design (or is it oversight).
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Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global | 17 July, 2015, 11:10 I read recently that the next NFC spec covers this eventuality so that payments can still be made when phone is flat. Can't for the life of me find the article. It was in nfcworld.com I think
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Matt Scott
Matt Scott - RenovITe Technologies Inc - London | 17 July, 2015, 11:15 I can already make NFC Payments (under £20) when my phone is flat. I don't use ApplePay... Although it would be nice to know when other cards can be added to the Vodafone Wallet.
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Alexander Peschkoff
Alexander Peschkoff - TEDIPAY - London | 17 July, 2015, 11:25

Matt, it's their attitude, unfortunately: http://www.finextra.com/blogs/fullblog.aspx?blogid=11302

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Dean Wallace
Dean Wallace - ACI - Global | 17 July, 2015, 12:44 @Matt - tell us more. What's your set up, where do you use?
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Debasis Chakraborty
Debasis Chakraborty - CCS - ILFORD | 18 July, 2015, 15:27

To provide better customer experince, tfl should support omni-channel digital capability, so that user can have seamless digital experince. They can start jourey to touch by iphone and complete the journey by touchout apple watch.

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James Bell
James Bell - IBM UK LTD - London | 22 July, 2015, 12:31

@Debasis - I believe the apple watch and the iphone have different tokenised card numbers for the same card (the token is per card per device so the same card on two devices has different tokenised numbers) so its not possible for TFL to decide to support the seamless experience - it would have to be a change to ApplePay to use the same token however I believe that is deliberate design (e.g. one token per device so that they can be revoked easily if the device is lost/stolen/broken)

@Ashish you can 'pre-auth' a card for applepay by opening passbook, clicking a card and putting your thumb on prior to touching the gate as Alexander has noted before - when its pre-authed the speed of applepay at a gate is similar to that of a normal contactless card

Personally for me the compelling use of ApplePay isnt 'leaving my wallet at home', its not having to get my wallet out then get the appropriate card out - applepay is quicker for me and only uses 1 hand vs 2 required for the wallet. Additionally the phone running out of battery isnt really a concern - if my phone was running low and wouldnt last the journey I would just use the card for the whole journey rather than the phone. I dont really see how its practical to think that people could leave their wallet at home at this point (store cards, transactions above £20 for stores without high value contactless, stores that dont support contactless etc). I'm guessing if people surveyed regular users of ApplePay how many people leave their wallet at home the answer would be very low (e.g. I dont think its the real compelling usecase)

 

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 22 July, 2015, 14:28

@JamesBill + 1. On another note, I'm a little surprised not to find any mention of power bank. While it might not be as high tech as NFC / UICC / USIM etc., to me it seems like a straightforward and practical solution to this problem. In any case, even without Apple Pay, aren't most people compelled to carry around a power bank these days? To me, power bank is the AmEx card of today and "Never leave home without a power bank" is more compelling than "you can leave your wallet at home".

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