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London Underground to start accepting contactless smartphone payments

Struggling to find your Oyster card? Fret not, Transport for London has confirmed the London Underground will start accepting contactless payments later this summer.

Starting from September 16, as well as letting commuters use contactless credit and debit cards to pay for journeys on London’s tube, overground, DLR and tram networks (buses already accept such payments), TfL has partnered with EE to make contactless smartphone payments compatible with the capital’s transport network.

EE customers with compatible, NFC equipped, smartphones will be able to use their handsets to make tap-to-pay journeys. The service will make use of EE’s Cash on Tap app, and cost users no more than if they had an Oyster card.

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,” Gerry McQuade, EE’s Chief Marketing Officer said.

He added: “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.”

Although NFC and contactless payments have failed to hit expected heights in retail environments, growing at a steady but slow rate, the new transport applications are sure to prove a hit with travellers tired of waiting in Oyster card top-up queues.

While the contactless payment system will be held to the same daily caps as Oyster cards, those looking to buy weekly or monthly passes will still need the dedicated travel card.

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