Oyster card may face chop as Tube plans credit card ticket system

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The Oyster card was a small revolution in ticket payments when it was launched less than a decade ago, but it seems it may soon become obsolete. Transport for London has confirmed that by the end of 2012, it will accept contactless credit and debit cards at the tube turnstiles, according to The Register.

Card payments on the bus will be enabled earlier in 2012, in time for the Olympics, but due to the work involved the tube will follow only later in the year. While changing the ticket system is quite complicated, it is cheaper for TFL to deal directly with the banks, omitting the Oyster middle-man.

There are some problems related to the project still – such as the time it would take for the system to call up the bank to check if there’s any money available. Commentators are speculating the solution may be to check this later in order to avoid massive pile-ups at the turnstiles, and then catch the cardholder as they tap out to leave the underground system.

I for one will miss the Oyster card, which feels like an integral part of London life. But an all-in-one chip that covers payment as well as travel is appealing too – actually we can probably just go ahead and implant this magic chip directly into our phone handsets?

ShinyJess

14 comments

  • High-tech isn’t it? Many are aware for the development of everything nowadays especially in the field of computer related products. One thing that we should to thank of what we had today.

  • “it will accept contactless credit and debit cards at the tube turnstiles”

    This doesn’t mean TFL will stop accepting oystercards, so don’t panic! It makes a load of sense to accept credit cards as well, but I doubt TFL will just can the oyster after all the investment…

  • The future is being able to pay with your Smartphone. These NFC chips are already in some Smartphones like the Google Nexus S and will be in the iPhone 5 and the next iPad and all the cool next generation smartphones.

    Have a look at Frashen they are developing a system so we can pay with our Smartphones using these chips. http://www.twitter.com/frashen

  • An innovative idea towards technology. It’s pretty interesting. Congratulations to the discoverers.

  • I don’t think we’ll see the oyster go yet seeing as there is no way to hold weekly/monthly travel card information on a bank card at the moment.

    I can’t see the banks being willing to take on the cost of administrating that bit of software to work with credit cards.

  • I agree with Elise. It would be sad to see the Oyster go. I use it regularly on the bus. It feels ‘safer’ than using my credit card. Why can’t they just have both? I don’t fancy the idea of using my credit card to make payments. I think it would not be secure.

  • Interesting, I’d be sad to see the Oyster Card go as well, I prefer it as a way to keep track of how much I’m spending on travel, rather than looking at my bank statement.
    Interesting that you mention having the chip in your mobile. A town in France has apparently already trialled this so hopefully it will happen in the not too distant future.

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