A contactless payment system has been rolled out for passengers on London Tube and rail services, making TfL the world’s first transit network accepting Visa contactless cards on multiple forms of transport.
The scheme will be available for travellers on London Underground, London Overground, mainline rail services that accept the Oyster card, and also on Dockland Light Railway.
Travellers who own credit or debit cards equipped with contactless technology will no longer have to waste time topping up their Oyster cards as payments will be charged directly to their bank accounts upon passing the stations’ card readers.
The technology, which allows paying small amounts under £20, doesn’t require any confirmation using PIN or signature, allowing for speedy transition.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Londoners and visitors to our great city can now get from A to B with a simple flourish of a contactless payment card.
"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."
TfL has been working on a solution together with the financial industry for several years.
Sandra Alzetta, executive director of Visa Europe said: “From today, TfL accepts the 40 million Visa contactless cards already active in the UK and it’s our intention that any customer with a Visa-enabled mobile device will also be able to use it to travel on the TfL network.”
The availability of the contactless payment services to foreigners depends on policy of the individual banks issuing the cards, Visa said.
Contactless payments were enabled on London's buses in 2012. According to Visa, the project was a success, leading to an increasing interest in the technology. The company expects the expansion of the service to London Underground will lead to further growth.
“We’ve seen an incredible response to the launch of contactless payments on London buses with nearly 19 million Visa contactless journeys made since it launched in 2012. Today’s launch by TfL will be another major boost to contactless usage leading to the three-fold increase we expect in the next year,” Alzetta said.
Visa predicts 500 million contactless payments will be made in the UK next year with further 10 million Visa contactless cards to be issues throughout 2015.