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Transport for London looking to trial contactless smartphone payments again

Transport for London is reportedly looking to again trial smartphone contactless payments for travelling within the capital.

You could be able to pay for your London commute with a swipe of your smartphone thanks to a new initiative by Transport for London.

According to the Financial Times, UK network operators including Vodafone and EE have been in talk with TfL to make a move towards smartphone contactless payment schemes.

Despite rumours TfL thought NFC payments were too slow, it looks like the transport authorities are giving it another go as an alternative to the extremely successful, but costly Oyster Card system.

“The upgrade we have made to our readers to accept contactless payment cards also makes them capable of accepting suitable payment applications on mobile phones,” said Shashi Verma, TfL’s director of customer experience. “We are doing some testing to see how the devices perform on the system and welcome any new payment technologies that meet the relevant industry standards and enable sufficiently fast transactions speeds.”

A “person familiar with the plans” suggests that weekly or monthly ticket payments could be introduced in the future, but the initial trial will be a pay as you go scheme offered by the mobile operators themselves.

EE already has a contactless payment app called “Cash on Tap”, which could be adapted to offer tube and train fare. Vodafone should do the same with its mobile wallet service.

It’s not clear if and when this contactless payment service extension trial will begin, but it is part of the TfL aims to replace the Oyster Card with a more open service for London buses and the underground.

You can already use contactless debit, credit or other cards to pay for single journeys for the same price as you would pay with your Oyster Card.

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