Transport for London introduces contactless card payments for Tube, tram and DLR


The entire public transport network in London will accept contactless card payments in the near future, Transport for London has announced. Last October, the organisation revealed that passengers on the capital's buses will soon be able to pay via contactless debit or credit card.


Now, Transport for London has confirmed that the technology should be in place in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games and that it will also be rolled out across the Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground networks by the end of next year.

Travel with a single swipe
London will soon become the first city in the world where passengers can access the entire public transport network with a single swipe of their contactless debit or credit card. At present, passengers are required to purchase a paper ticket or load a travelcard or pay-as-you-go credit on to their Oyster card. Soon, however, it will be possible to make direct fare payments when entering a station or boarding a bus.

The new payment system is being made possible thanks to upgrades to the transport network's existing Oyster card readers. New software will allow passengers to pay for their journey simply by touching their debit or credit card to the reader, without even having to enter their pin. The fare will then be charged directly to the user's bank or credit card account, making it easier for both Londoners and overseas visitors to move around the capital.

Leading credit card companies involved
Transport for London has worked closely with Visa, MasterCard and American Express to ensure that all of the key brands are involved in the scheme. Mark Austin, head of Visa Contactless in Europe, said that he expects 20m contactless debit and credit cards to be in circulation by the start of 2012. He said the new initiative "will be a great new convenient service which will save people time queuing to either purchase tickets or top up their Oyster card".

Hany Fam, president of MasterCard UK & Ireland, also welcomed the move. He pointed out that MasterCard was the first to introduce contactless payments on public transport in the UK in 2009 and revealed that the company has been working on the project with Transport for London since 2006. "We believe that London's leadership will pave the way for adoption of contactless payments in other major cities across the world," he predicted.

See related: London buses to accept contactless cards; Google smart phone to support contactless payments

Published: 4 March 2011