Card clash costing UK commuters £3.4 million a year

Source: Commuter Club

Double dipping is costing commuters over £3.4 million per year, according to the latest research from Commuter Club, the commuting subscription service.

The problem which is also known as card clash, occurs when travelers get charged on the wrong card when they tap in or out of the contactless ticket barrier. The most frequent cause is where commuters use their entire purse or wallet to tap in and out, a habit adopted by more than one in six commuters. This means the machine can often inadvertently read the wrong card if it’s contactless. There are currently 92 million contactless cards in use and almost all new debit and credit cards are contactless. Tapping a purse or wallet on the barrier is like playing contactless roulette.

As a result, commuters could be charged on one card tapping in and another tapping out and pay the maximum fare on both which could total £22.70[3]. According to the research, 21% of commuters that use contactless and Oyster know they have fallen victim to this since contactless was made available on London Underground in 2014. Whilst you can claim money back from Transport for London (TfL) for incorrect payments, more than half (61%) of those affected by card clash said they’d never got around to doing so. This means there could be around £2 million sat unclaimed each year. In fact, 31% of all surveyed have never checked to see if they had been overcharged, which could mean people are completely unaware it has happened.

If you know you’ve double dipped on your journey, simply register the cards you use to travel on the Transport for London website and you can check your travel payments online. If you don’t register, you can only check the last seven days.
Commuters don’t use protection

Commuters can prevent contactless devices from taking money from cards they don’t want them to by using protective RFID covers to block the contactless signals. Sadly more than one in ten commuters claimed to be unaware of this simple measure.

If you are a regular commuter - commuting four days a week or more, or 40+ weeks a year - season tickets or commuting subscriptions are better value for money. As an example, if you commute through Zones 1-6, you’ll save a massive £608 a year by using an annual ticket purchased through Commuter Club.

Steve Dukes, CEO at Commuter Club comments: “Whilst double dipping can be a costly one-off mistake for commuters, contactless travel could be far more expensive. Many commuters use contactless believing the weekly price caps will protect them from overspending. However, for regular commuters contactless is often the wrong choice, with alternative payment options saving commuters hundreds of pounds a year. Our customers that switched from contactless often make the biggest savings. We’re here to help commuters find the right option for them.”

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