Some Lucky People Can Already Use NFC Payments on the Tube

By Chris Mills on at

Looks like Transport for London is steaming ahead at full power with those NFC trials, as 5,000 contactless-payment-wielding customers are already participating in a pilot programme, with the full thing set to roll out later this year.

The idea is to extend the current NFC/Oyster hybrid system that's already in place on the capital's buses, which allows people to pay for a journey using either a contactless payment card or a good 'ole Oyster -- just touch either to the yellow reader, and Bob's your £1.35-worse-off uncle.

In theory, this should also mean you can use an appropriately configured mobile phone to pay for journeys, since both smartphones and contactless credit cards use the near-field contact (NFC) system. There's no Oyster app (yet), but when the contactless system opens up to everyone later this year, everybody with a Visa or Mastercard payment app on their phone should be able to use that to pay. Just get ready for some dirty rush-hour looks when you spend two minutes blocking a barrier because you couldn't get your phone to work.

Image credit: London Tube from Shutterstock