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TfL London Buses to get wireless payment methods

Londoners will soon be getting the option to further their contactless payment services as Transport for London has announced that they will be expanding wireless payment  features to their massive fleet of 8,500 buses, on top of the existing tube payment system.

All you need is a contactless payment card with the wireless logo on it (see below) and you’ll be able to just swipe the card on the terminal on London buses and tube trains to pay for your travels.

What’s more, the pricing will be cheaper than other card and cash payments as TfL prices contactless payments the same as its Oyster Card system.

In the announcement TfL did not express specifically that users could use Quick Tap enabled smartphones but some handsets do have the wireless payment logo on them and so could well work. They also listed a few features of the wireless payment systems.

Why use contactless payment cards?

  • It’s cheaper than paying cash. For example, you’ll only be charged a single fare of £1.35 instead of £2.30
  • It’s secure: Your card is protected by your card issuer against fraudulent use in just the same way as when using your contactless payment card at any other retailer
  • It’s quick and easy, because there’s no need to enter a PIN number

Not all contactless payment cards carry this symbol but your card issuer should have told you if your card can be used for contactless transactions when it was issued to you. Like Oyster, you can only pay for one person per journey with a contactless payment card; if you are travelling in a group, each person will have to use a separate contactless payment card or other method of payment.

Additionally, TfL notes that there are some differences to the Oyster payment system:

  • Contactless payment cards are only valid on buses and can only be used to pay for single journeys
  • Daily price caps will not be applied
  • You can’t add Travelcard or Bus Tram Pass season tickets to a contactless payment card.
  • Contactless payment cards are not accepted on the heritage buses which run some journeys on parts of routes 9 and 15
  • Each time you use a contactless payment card, you pay for a single journey, therefore, there is no transfer discount between Bus Feeder routes T31, T32, T33, 130 and 314 and trams

This may be the next big step in making NFC and contactless payments the norm across the UK.

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