More convenient journeys for millions as contactless payments launch across London’s transport network

16 September 2014  •  Author: Transport for London

From today, Tuesday 16 September, millions of customers will have easier and more convenient journeys as Transport for London (TfL) introduces contactless payments on Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and National Rail services that accept Oyster.

The new option, which is part of a range of improvements TfL is making for customers, means that there is no longer any need to spend time topping up Oyster balances because fares are charged directly to payment card accounts.

Contactless payment cards are debit, credit, charge or pre-paid cards which can be used to make quick, easy and secure payments for everyday purchases of £20 and under. There is no need for a PIN or a signature; customers simply have to touch their card on the reader. This technology is becoming increasingly common, with half of Londoners already having a contactless card.

If a card has the following symbol it means it can be used for contactless payments:

 Contactless payment

Contactless payments work in the same way as Oyster, charging customers an adult-rate pay as you go fare when they touch in and out on readers at the start and end of every journey. Customers using contactless payments for their travel will benefit from having their fares capped – this automatically calculates the best value for their contactless travel in a day or over a seven-day period from Monday to Sunday. TfL continues to remind all customers about card clash – it is essential they onlytouch one card on the reader to avoid paying with a card they did not intend to pay with.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Londoners and visitors to our great city can now get from A to B with a simple flourish of a contactless payment card. This is a great leap forward for our transport network and a world first for a capital that’s leading the way by using the latest technology to help people get around.”

Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, said: “Accepting contactless payments on transport in London is a fantastic achievement for our city – it provides our customers with the most convenient way to pay for their travel and highlights the capital’s position as a world leader in transport ticketing, technology and customer service.

“Oyster will continue to be available, with contactless payments being another option that lets our customers travel without the need to top up Oyster credit. I would like to remind all of our customers to onlytouch one card on the reader to avoid paying with a card they did not intend to pay with.”

Contactless payments were launched on London’s buses in December 2012 and have been a resounding success, with over one million customers using their contactless payment card to pay their bus fare around 20 million times. Each day there are around 70,000 payments made using contactless on London Buses. In April 2014 a pilot of the contactless system started on the Tube and rail network involving around 5,000 customers. Four of the customers who took part in the pilot talk about their experiences of the convenience of contactless travel here:

All UK issued contactless American Express, MasterCard or Visa credit, debit, pre-paid cards will be accepted for contactless payments. Other methods of contactless payment that meet financial industry standards, including mobile phones, may also be accepted. Some non-UK cards may not be accepted, card holders should check the TfL website before attempting to use them for travel.

The next part of TfL’s plans to revolutionise ticketing concentrate on how the benefits of contactless can be brought to Oyster, to ensure all of customers experience the same convenience.

David Mapp, Commercial Director for the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), representing train operators, said: “Making train travel quicker and easier for passengers is at the heart of what we do. Building on the success of Pay As You Go, from today people travelling in and around London on National Rail or Tube services will benefit from the new ‘contactless payment’ technology that operators have worked closely with TfL to help rollout.”

“As consumer demand for fast, convenient ‘tap and go’ payments increases in the UK, Transport for London’s contactless payments launch showcases the many exciting benefits that this technology can bring,” says Charlie Craven, VP, Emerging Product Development, American Express.  “At American Express, we are delighted to work with TfL to provide contactless capabilities on our payments network.  This will enable American Express Card Members in the UK to enjoy the rewards and benefits offered on their contactless payment products, as well as the automatic daily and weekly fare capping and the best journey fare provided by TfL.”

Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless at Barclaycard, said: “Every second counts to Londoners when commuting and having to rummage around for your wallet, hunt down your purse from the depths of your bag, or encountering the red light at the ticket barrier because you need to top-up can feel like its adding ages to the day. With contactless there’s no topping-up, no travel cards and no delay. Millions of Londoners are already using the technology day in, day out, to pay for everything from their morning coffee to lunchtime sandwich and evening drinks, but today’s announcement makes the ‘contactless day’ a true reality as a Tube journey across the capital is added to the list of things that you can pay for with just a tap of one card. Contactless has become huge since Barclaycard introduced it into the UK seven years ago. Over 850,000 contactless transactions are now made every single day and our customers alone use it to spend over £10m a month. London is the first city in the world to fully integrate contactless payment cards into the fare system and we’re proud to have played a central role in making that happen.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, chief executive of business group London First, said: “Cutting edge transport is key to making London a place that people want to live and work, businesses want to invest, and tourists want to visit Contactless payments will help keep the Tube in the vanguard of world metros and London in the vanguard as a world metropolis.”

Marion King, President at MasterCard UK&I said:MasterCard has long supported TfL which will now offer travellers the convenience of paying for their journeys with contactless technology. Today’s milestone means travel on buses, tubes, tram, trains and the DLR can all be paid for with contactless cards or devices. The MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index shows us that London is the World’s number one destination and is projected to receive nearly 19 million visitors in 2014. All of these visitors using the TfL network will benefit from the ease, speed and security which contactless payments bring with it. Paying for journeys by contactless enabled phones is also a reality with MasterCard’s Cash on Tap partnership with EE, and we will continue to innovate to ensure electronic payments are convenient and safe across London’s transit network.”

Sandra Alzetta, Executive Vice President, Visa Europe, said: “The rollout out of Visa contactless across the TfL network is a landmark moment for this easy and convenient way to pay and we’re delighted to have played such a key role in its design and implementation. From today TfL’s contactless infrastructure is ready to accept the 40 million Visa contactless cards already active in the UK and it’s our intention that any customer with a Visa-enabled mobile device will also be able to use their smartphone to travel on the TfL network.”

Richard Koch, Head of Policy at the UK Cards Association, said: “Today marks a significant advance for card payments, with London commuters now able to use their contactless cards to travel instead of an Oyster card or paper ticket. Payment cards are already highly valued by consumers for the convenience that they bring; this launch brings new opportunities for where and how they can used. We’ve seen that once people use contactless for travel, they increasingly use their cards over cash for other small payments too. We’re already working with other transit operators across the UK who are planning to follow suit and offer contactless payment options for their passengers too.”

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