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TfL warns over Apple Pay London Underground failings


london underground

Transport for London has warned Apple Pay users about pitfalls of using the payment service on the UK capital’s travel network.

According to TfL, it’s risky to let your batteries run flat if you’ve used an iPhone or an Apple Watch to pay your Underground or train fare.

The transport body says that if your phone dies once you’ve paid, you could get stuck at gates and even face penalty fares.

“Your iPhone or Apple Watch must be switched on to use it to travel,” says TfL. “You should also check that you have enough battery on your iPhone or Apple Watch to complete your journey.”

It continues: “[If] it runs out of battery in the middle of a rail journey, you will not be able to touch out at the end and could be charged a maximum fare.”

The notice adds: “[If] an inspector asks you to touch your iPhone or Apple Watch on their reader, it will not be able to be read and you could be liable for a penalty fare.”

TfL also says that having both an iPhone and an Apple Watch is a potential issue, as a terminal could charge you twice.

Similarly, if you have multiple cards on an account, you need to make sure you use the same one or, again, you could be charged twice.

What’s more, receiving calls while trying to touch in or out of tube gates can cause issues.

But we're still not done. If you’re visiting the UK from abroad and you’re using Apple Pay, TfL says the system may not work, and there’s a risk of being charged currency conversion fees.

Related: Can Apple Pay really replace your wallet?

Apple Pay went live in the UK two days ago, marking the first time the mobile payment service has been available outside of the US since launch.

If you don’t have an Apple device to use Apple Pay with, check out our iPhone 6 video review below:


July 16, 2015, 2:56 pm

Haha. Great system then. I like how it could potentially charge you twice if you have 2 Apple devices. Surely Apple has thought around that?


July 16, 2015, 6:26 pm

Given that when Apple pay was announced everyone said nfc payment was something they have been doing for years and was old technology, surely these issues have already been worked out by those millions of people who are using nfc pay already, none of these seem to be apple issues, they are generic to any occasion where you use any phone to pay.


July 17, 2015, 9:16 am

I think nfc payments with cards (ie Oyster) is a bit different to those from phone based systems.


July 17, 2015, 9:42 am

Now that is hilarious!
And where is "lustful victory" these days? Seems to have gone quiet.


July 17, 2015, 10:01 am

Haha where is Paul! Maybe he is stuck on the underground or having to work extra to pay for his journeys hehehe..


July 17, 2015, 11:46 am

I was talking about phone based systems. I seem to recall when iPhone6 was released a huge amount of articles commenting that Apple was copying Samsung designs etc as NFC mobile payment chips have been in Galaxy phones since year dot etc and they have been paying with their phone for ages; if they had then my suggestion was that surely that legion of people using Google wallet or linking their card to their NFC android phone would have already encountered this issue and presumably found it not to be an issue.

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