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Tube to start accepting contactless payment cards

TfL said contactless payments will be accepted from 16 September

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London Underground will start accepting contactless payments across its network from 16 September, Transport for London (TfL) announced today.

London Overground, the DLR (District Light Rail), and tram networks will also support the new payment method.

The move comes after London buses rolled out contactless payment technology across its network in December 2012.

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

All major UK banks issue contactless payment cards as standard now, meaning Oyster card holders could return their Oyster in return for the £5 deposit if they wanted to rely purely on their bank card.

Those wishing to take advantage of the possible savings offered by season passes and concessionary fares will need to keep their Oyster card, TfL said. 

The travel body added that it will cap daily usage spending on bank cards in the same way that it does for the Oyster card.

In addition to daily capping, a new Monday to Sunday cap will also apply for customers using the contactless payment option. TfL claimed the weekly cap 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.

The rollout follows a trial across London Underground and the capital’s rail network, which involved 3,000 customers and has been successful, according to TfL.

Mobile operators, such as EE with its Cash on Tap app and payment system, will also have means to pay through an NFC capable smartphone.

EE's Cash on Tap for Android, announced today, allows customers to add money into a digital wallet and pay for items using their phones, including TfL services come 16 September.

Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience, said “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.”


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