(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
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
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.