TRANSPORT FOR LONDON (TfL) has announced that it will start accepting contactless payments on the London Tube network from 16 September.
The announcement, which follows a successful trial with 3,000 people, means that London commuters will be able to ditch their Oyster card on the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and Overground, and instead pay for journeys with a contactless payment card or using a smartphone that has near field communications (NFC) capability.
Contactless payments will work like Oyster cards, TfL said, with customers being charged by touching in and out on the readers at the start and end of a journey. TfL will still cap fares on a daily and Monday to Sunday basis, but an Oyster card will still be required for those buying a monthly or annual fare.
Unlike with Oyster cards, TfL said that travellers will only be charged once at the end of each day, and promised that users will be charged the "best value" fare available.
TfL director of customer experience Shasi Verma 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.
"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."
Users won't just be able to pay using their contactless bank card, as EE was quick to announce that it will allow smartphone owners with its Cash On Tap app installed to pay for fares using their mobile phones. The app, presently only on Android, is available on handsets including the Galaxy S5, HTC One and Sony Xperia Z2.
EE CMO Gerry McQuade said, "Users of the world’s greatest tube network will shortly benefit from the latest in mobile payment technology, allowing them to use their phone to pay for their daily commute.
"As more and more people benefit from the simplicity, convenience and security that mobile contactless payments offer, it's rapidly becoming clear that the days of the physical wallet are fast becoming numbered." µ