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June 3, 2010

TfL looking at Oyster alternatives

James Davlouros, Mastercard's vice president for innovative platforms, said that the payments specialist was in talks with Transport for London (Tfl) about providing a new way for travellers to combine a contactless payment system on to their mobile phones. Speaking at Mastercard Europe's Debit and Prepaid Conference in Budapest, Davlouros told Cards International that one of the solutions being talked about was a chip attached to a slimline transmitter that could be attached to a mobile phone

By Verdict Staff

(Free) James Davlouros, Mastercard’s vice president for innovative platforms, has revealed that the payments specialist was in talks with Transport for London (Tfl) along with several other market players about providing a new way for travellers to combine a contactless payment system on to their mobile phones.
Speaking at Mastercard Europe’s Debit and Prepaid Conference in Budapest, Davlouros told Cards International that one of the solutions being talked about was a chip attached to a slimline transmitter that could be attached to a mobile phone. He said that this coud be used in exactly the same way that an Oystercard would be – as a contactless card, tapping a pad on entry to pay for travel.
He added that TfL was looking to make cost savings in its operations and reducing the number of Oystercards it issues as a way of saving potentially millions of pounds.
In response to the possibility of replacing Oyster cards on the London transport network, a spokesman for TfL said to CI “TfL has absolutely no plans to introduce such a mobile sticker product on London’s transport network. Oyster is the world’s most succesful transport smartcard and we expect to operate it for many years to come.”
Previously TfL has implied Oystercould be eventually phased out in favour of a contactless payment card-based system – something which would represent a huge kick-start for contactless technology in the UK. It may also have a dramatic effect on the take-up globally of contactless cards with the London Olympics in 2012 and the huge numbers of international visitors expected, who would be able to use generic contactless cards to pay for travel.
In a presentation given by Will Judge, head of future ticketing at TfL, in late September in London, he stated that TfL is also looking at ways to ‘future-proof’ its ticketing operations.
Critically, TfL seems to have opted to embrace contactless payment applications such as Visa’s payWave and MasterCard’s PayPass propositions, as opposed to pure ticketing contactless applications that can be widened for usage in non-ticketing locations. Judge said that TfL was currently considering payment industry standards, in order to “exploit fast network technologies to get complexity off the cards”.
There are £3.4 million ($6.03 million) Oyster pay-as-you-go top-ups and daily travel card sales each day, of which £2.5 million is cash. These cash sales would shift onto a contactless ‘pay-by-ride’ pricing system, bringing £930 million in extra transactions each year.

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