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TfL reportedly will trial smartphone payments for London travel

EE and Vodafone apparently onboard
Tue Apr 22 2014, 15:32
London buses at a road junction

TRANSPORT FOR LONDON (TfL) reportedly is teaming with EE and Vodafone to trial payments via smartphones for travel in the city.

The Financial Times reports that TfL is in talks with EE and Vodafone, among others, about introducing smartphone payments as an alternative to the Oyster Card, since most new handsets have the same Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. The report notes that TfL's turnstiles already have the capability to work with NFC smartphones.

While unconfirmed, the report adds that the initial trial will be on a "pay as you go" basis, with mobile operators providing apps that can be loaded with cash to pay for travel. It is thought that operators might also consider payment for tickets on a weekly or monthly basis.

It is thought that EE and Vodafone will modify their current "Cash and Tap" and "mobile wallet" applications to make payments on London tubes and buses, but both mobile operators declined to comment.

Still, you'll not likely be paying for travel through your Galaxy S5 any time soon, as TfL said that, at present, mobile payments are too slow - adding that it will welcome such technology when it offers sufficent transcation speeds.

Shashi Verma, TfL director of customer experience, said, "The upgrade we have made to our readers to accept contactless payment cards also makes them capable of accepting suitable payment applications on mobile phones.

"We are doing some testing to see how the devices perform on the system and welcome any new payment technologies that meet the relevant industry standards and enable sufficiently fast transactions speeds."

TfL has yet to offer any further comment.

This report comes after it was revealed that Boris Bikes data, which can track an individual across the city, is available for all to view online. µ


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