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Contactless payment for London commuters

By Retail Technology | Wednesday July 30 2014

Transport for London (TfL) has announced it is launching contactless payments on its services in September

Come September, pay-as-you-go London commuters will be able to avail of contactless payment on the Tube, London Overground, DLR, trams and buses.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced this option for 16 September as part of a range of improvements by the group. The new contactless payment option means customers no longer have to spend time checking and topping up their Oyster balance. 

Touching in and out

Contactless payments - credit, debit, charge or pre-paid cards or devices - work in the same way as Oyster, charging the pay as you go fare by touching in and out on the readers at the start and end of every journey.

In addition to 'daily' capping, a new ‘Monday to Sunday’ cap will also apply for customers using the contactless payment option, as TfL's system will automatically calculate the best value contactless fare over the course of the week.

Only one charge per day will be sent to the bank or financial provider for payment - clearly referencing it as a payment to TfL for travel.Registered customers will be able to easily view their journey and payment history via their TfL online account.

Successful pilot

Contactless payments have operated on the capital's bus network since December 2012, and have been used by around 825,000 customers for 17million journeys. Around 65,000 journeys a day are being made using a contactless payment card.

A pilot of the system on the London Underground and rail network which began in April involving around 3,000 customers has been successful. 

An extensive customer campaign has been running since February to reduce the incidents of ‘card clash’ and this will be enhanced further ahead of the September launch.

'Offering the option of contactless payments will make it easier and more convenient for customers to pay for their travel, freeing them of the need to top up Oyster credit and helping them get on board without delay,” commented Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience. “The pilot has been a success, with participants giving us really useful feedback.  This is the latest step in making life easier for our customers by using modern technology to offer the best service possible.'

TfL and National Rail are continuing to work together to develop the programme to expand the system to the suburban rail routes where Oyster is currently accepted.

1 million Visa contactless journeys in week 1
Sandra Alzetta, executive director at Visa Europe, said consumers now expect a broad choice of payment options in every aspect of their life. “With the ease, speed and convenience of paying with a contactless card, Brits are already making over 20 million Visa contactless purchases each month with 40 million Visa contactless cards.”
“We're expecting that number to increase dramatically when London’s transport network starts accepting contactless on September 16th. I predict that paying for public transport will become so convenient and frictionless that in the first week of launch, we’ll see about 1 million Visa contactless journeys on TfL’s network.”

Earlier this month, TfL announced a partnership with Amazon, making lockers available for commuters to use as a convenient 'click-and-collect' destination on their commute.

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