Transport for London to trial payments by mobile

Transport for London to trial payments by mobileWell, long gone are the days when mobile phones simply made phone calls and sent simple SMS messages – or “texts”.

We’re hearing Transport for London (TfL) will soon trial a scheme whereby customers will be able to scoot around the capital with payments made via NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled mobile phones.

The news is relayed by The Financial Times (subscription required) with an anonymous shadowy figure whispering that EE and Vodafone might be involved, though the networks refused to comment.

TfL of course operates the contactless Oyster system, which is incredibly successful, but also incredibly costly to run – more than 10p for every pound in revenue.

Shashi Verma, director of customer experience at TfL, screams: “The upgrade we have made to our readers to accept contactless payment cards also makes them capable of accepting suitable payment applications on mobile phones.

“We are doing some testing to see how the devices perform on the system and welcome any new payment technologies that meet the relevant industry standards and enable sufficiently fast transactions speeds.”

Amusingly, this all comes just over a year after the head of business development at TfL said he was “not convinced” about NFC.

As originally reported by Sophie Curtis at TechWorld, big Matt Hudson bawled: “It's taken ages. How much money is there to make with all these parties trying to get a piece of it?”

I guess we'll find out soon enough, Matt.

Read more about: EEVodafone

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