Transport for London (TfL) has extended contactless payment support to the full Oyster network and operator EE has expanded its mobile micropayment service accordingly.
Cash on Tap – EE’s NFC-based contactless payment system that uses a prepay account to make payments up to £20 – was first launched on London’s buses a month ago. Now, with TfL announcing support for all contactless payment cards anywhere there is an Oyster NTC touch point, EE has been quick to apply its own mobile payment system to the same network. Both schemes operate a ‘Monday to Sunday capping’ scheme that is designed to ensure you don’t double pay or pay over the odds for your travel.
Pippa Dunn, Chief Consumer Marketing Officer, EE said: “The TfL network carries more than 30 million journeys around the capital every day, and contactless payments can help make these journeys easier and quicker for London’s residents and businesses,” said Pippa Dunn, Chief Consumer Marketing Officer at EE. “This is why EE has continued to work so closely with TfL and MasterCard to bring the ease and efficiency of contactless mobile payments to London’s Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and National Rail services that accept Oyster.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was his usual effusive self: “Londoners and visitors to our great city can now get from A to B with a simple flourish of a contactless payment card,” he said. “This is a great leap forward for our transport network and a world first for a capital that’s leading the way by using the latest technology to help people get around.”
Contactless payments specialist Proxama is pleased with the TfL development. “By enabling contactless payments on the tube, TfL has taken something the majority of consumers do more than once a day and offered an alternative, easier and a cost effective way to do it,” said chief commercial officer Miles Quitmann.
“Incentivising customers with a daily and weekly price cap is a good idea, making the use of contactless payment methods more convenient for millions of people. This, combined with Apple’s NFC announcement last week, will add to the growing confidence in the technology, giving all merchants more of an impetus to roll out their own solutions and drive the use of mobile payments.”
Quitmann makes a good point about Apple Pay. Regardless of how long it takes Apple’s scheme to gain traction, it will help focus attention on contactless payments and mobile commerce in general, as well as making NFC the de facto technology standard for such things. There is likely to be a steady drip of news like this in the coming months, and it may well be just a matter of time before using contactless smartphones for small payments becomes the norm.