Contactless payments arrive on London Underground

Gadgets, Mobile phones, Smartphones, Smartwatches

There is nothing more frustrating than being in a hurry to catch your train on the London Underground only to find you have no money left on your Oyster card, so you have to go and join the massive queue at the ticket machine.


Well, from today, that will no longer be a problem.

Transport for London has now introduced contactless payments for all pay-as-you-go customers on the Tube, London Overground, DLR and trams.

Contactless payments have been accepted on London’s buses since December 2012, and TfL says that almost 70,000 contactless payments are made on the London bus network each day.

The expanded scheme will let customers use credit, debit, charge or pre-paid cards or devices, charging the pay as you go fare by touching in and out on card readers at the start and end of a journey.

As well as daily capping, a new Monday to Sunday cap will also apply for customers using the contactless payment option.

TfL says that its system will calculate the best value contactless fare over the course of the week.

TfL mouthpiece Shashi Verma says: “Customers can look forward to having an easier and more convenient way to pay for their travel, freeing them of the need to top up Oyster credit and helping them to get on board without delay.

“I would like to remind all of our customers to only touch one card on the reader to avoid paying with a card they did not intend to pay with.”

So if you have more than one contactless card, or an Oyster card, you need to keep them separate rather than just tapping your wallet on the reader.

Mobile provider EE has also announced that customers with Cash on Tap enabled handsets can now tap in and out on the Tube with their phone, rather than using an Oyster card or contactless debit card.

Expect other mobile providers to also roll out contactless payment options through your phone or smartwatch – and with the upcoming Apple Pay announced last week, the cashless society moves ever closer.

For latest tech stories go to