back to article Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London

From 16 September you will be able to pay for your journey on the London Underground with your pay-by-bonk contactless card or NFC-enabled phone. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who uses the London Underground regularly and will have heard the announcements (and seen the posters) warning people to keep their Oyster and …

xyz

So...

What TfL has done here is taken something the majority of consumers do more than once a day and offered an alternative, easier and a cost effective way to do it,” said Miles Quitmann, MD of mobile payments company Proxama

...prices will come down...naw, didn't think so. Also, I can see people getting into debt over this as a lot of people don't pay off their cards at the end of the month and that "extra" £35 quid per week or whatever gives them itchy fingers on a hot Friday evening.

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Re: So...

Anyone who uses a credit card for the Tube is a muppet or needs very strong payoff discipline.

Interesting enough I received a mail from TFL this week about being included in the beta - suggesting they are widening it.

Now if only Google would sort out the Wallet on the Nexus 5....

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Re: So...

My contactless card is a Visa Debit. Not credit. I didn't ask for it, the NatWest just sent it when the preceding debit card expired. I use it on the bus infrequently partly because I don't live or work in London any more but, given that I often spend an entire week or two there, primarily because it doesn't aggregate with my Oyster. The Oyster caps you at the travelcard cost; if I were to use the Oyster on the tube then the debit card on the bus then I'd quite likely end up paying more.

If the option becomes available to consolidate my Oyster entirely into my card then I will do so for the convenience. Also, in London contactless seems to be reasonably popular for things like sandwiches and beers. Anything where there's a benefit to the retailer in having the peak queue move more quickly and corresponding social pressure on individuals to pay and get out of the way.

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Not yet.

The thing that would put me off using my phone for this is the idea of smacking my expensive phone against the ticket barriers twice a day. Surely that's asking for it to wear out quicker, get dropped or get grabbed from my hand.

I also don't understand how using my credit card is easier than using an Oyster card. After the initail sign up for auto top up and setting up a direct debit to pay my credit card in full every month, they become interchangable in usage. The only difference I can come up with is that if my credit card gets stolen it's more of a pain to sort out than losing an Oyster card.

I guess I'm not yet convinced.

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Re: Not yet.

For me - if it removes the random 2 day top up delay - so that my oyster gets auto topped up 2 days after I last used it - that would be enough of an improvement.

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Re: Not yet.

I also don't understand how using my credit card is easier than using an Oyster card. After the initail sign up for auto top up and setting up a direct debit to pay my credit card in full every month, they become interchangable in usage.

The answer is - it isn't. Not for you at least. They aren't making this change to help you (where 'you' represents a random variable defined as 'someone who already lives / works in London and uses TfL services at least once a day). TfL are making this change because:

a) it simplifies their model, as they aren't having to run three or four charging models (cash either on the bus/tube or paid for as a ticket in advance; debit/credit card on the bus/tube or in advance, contactless debit/credit card and Oyster.) Look for them to phase out Oyster in four or five years when everyone has had their current card replaced with a contactless one.

b) combined with a) above, it practically removes any requirement they have for handling cash at all (as stated in the article).

c) it makes life for tourists / other irregular London visitors much easier, as they don't have to prat about getting an Oyster card in the first place, then topping it up yadda yadda yadda...

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TRT
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Bloke down the tube station ticket office the other night...

bought 300 Oyster cards, apparently as he runs tours and dishes them out to his punters as part of the service. Seems he was there for hours as the system only allows you to buy them one at a time. Can't imagine how that's going to work in an Oysterless future.

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Re: Bloke down the tube station ticket office the other night...

A bank such as Raphaels or Clydesdale will offer a contactless prepaid card, and will put the tour operator's branding on it if the volumes are high enough.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bloke down the tube station ticket office the other night...

Re: Bloke down the tube station ticket office the other night...

A bank such as Raphaels or Clydesdale will offer a contactless prepaid card, and will put the tour operator's branding on it if the volumes are high enough.

Bonk with Trotters Ethnic Tours

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Happy

lemon-soaked paper napkins

+1 for H2G2 reference.

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Oyster's not going

Although the current iteration of Oyster may be approaching the end of its life, TFL doesn't plan to do away with it entirely; there is still almost certain to be a new generation of Oyster card, for various reasons. There are people who don't have a contactless bank card, because they have limited banking facilities, yet still need to travel in London; there are tourists who may not want lots of foreign exchange costs on their cards. The main change is that, in line with the way the contactless card processing is done, in the new generation Oyster everything will be worked out by the back end, rather than the card doing a fair bit of the work, as it does at present. There's more on this at http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/much-delayed-but-tfls-contactless-rail-fares-cant-fail-to-impress/

A friend who works for TFL tells me of the problems with phones and pay by bonk so far is that they're slow - much slower than genuine cards. Whether that's the fault of the way phones handle NFC, or the ticket gate, I'm not sure. But it can apparently take longer for the ticket gate to react to the phone than to a card. Might not matter at a suburban station off peak, but even a couple of seconds on each transaction at a busy station in the rush hour could slow things down on the gate line.

Add to the fun that now you won't just need to keep your Oyster and your contactless card separate - you'll need to keep all your contactless cards away from the one you want to use to travel. I have two such debit cards (one business, one beer). Weekly capping is going to get lots of moans from people in a similar position if they don't realise that some journeys went on one card, and some on another.

Also, "penetrate the everyday lifestyle" ? Really? Back to your strategy boutique, sonny.

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Unregistered Oyster

Only two posts here about privacy? And both with 0 upvotes and one downvote (they both have one upvote now)?

I do not work in London but go there occasionally. I have an anonymous (unregistered) Oyster card. I top up with cash and, if I could be bothered, I could swap unregistered Oyster cards regularly with my friends.

There is no way I am ever going to pay for travel around London with a traceable instrument like a credit or debit card. Freedom to travel is a right, and it must be available anonymously in order to protect the basic human rights of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and right to privacy.

I would object very strongly if anonymous travel cost more money than tracked travel -- that is why Oyster provides anonymous cards. Does anyone know how many unregistered cards are in use?

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Unhappy

but ....

What if you don't have a contactless card ?

I have a basic bank account without any gubbins or charges.

EDIT

Just posted and Nigel Whitfield's post showed up !!! DOH !

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Re: but ....

You could be forgiven, from almost all the headlines about this, for thinking Oyster is going to go away. I daresay there are quite a few people feeling alarmed about it, if they're in a similar situation to you.

Thankfully, the third of the "Notes to Editors" at the bottom of the TFL press release states pretty unequivocally

"Oyster will continue to be available for those on concessionary or season tickets or who would prefer to continue paying for their travel this way."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: but ....

I've had three of my four older cards replaced this year due to natural expiry dates. None is contact less.

My new joint account opened this year did not give me contactless cards

None of the accounts are "basic" and I live near enough to London to use the tube daily (but thankfully don't). Contactless will not become fully established until all banks offer contactless cards by default. My bank was asked and I was told it's currently only to a selected group of users. I'm not in a rush to get one but looks like some of the banks are not in a rush to offer them to all customers either...

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Re: but ....

"I've had three of my four older cards replaced this year due to natural expiry dates. None is contact less.

My new joint account opened this year did not give me contactless cards"

Lucky you!

All of my cards are now contactless which I do NOT want, having already seen people having payments taken from debit card when they wanted to pay by credit card and also from having a deep suspicion relating to the security of the system.

Luckily, strategic use of the hole punch makes them safe again.

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How will this work?

I have a paper tube ticket for a year.

If I have a contactless card is there a chance that will be charged instead if I get it too close to the gate?

Luckily I refuse to have a contactless card. I will not let anyone access my bank account without my express permission and frankly you are daft if you do

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Re: How will this work?

i gave you an upvote to offset the random downvote....

I have actually been double charged off on my "contactless" card from a big UK bank (no names but same colour as the sky), in a big chain shop. Manager said "it was being fixed"...

I am sure there are experts here that can tell all how they are not secure...?

P.

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Re: How will this work?

The card needs to be about a centimetre away from the yellow card reader before it will pick it up, so no. I have an Oyster card, an ITSO card issued by my local bus company and several pay by bonk debit cards in my wallet, but like you, usually use a paper season ticket because it is cheaper, and I've never had any problems.

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Re: How will this work?

"The card needs to be about a centimetre away from the yellow card reader before it will pick it up,"

That's just the software/firmware looking at signal strength. Cards can be read from further away less reliably, but the crooks aren't too chuffed if it coks up 50% of the time.

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TRT
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Re: How will this work?

My Oyster card has been read by a bus reader from about two feet away. The woman in front of me got a free ride because it read my ticket instead of hers. I won't say exactly how I know it was my ticket that got read... suffice it to say that the one she presented couldn't have generated that code on the bus ticket machine display.

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Re: How will this work?

@ phil dude

"no names but same colour as the sky"

Grey ????

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FAIL

Pay By Phone

Where do I get a Pay by Bonk App for my Android phone?

I can't see one in the UK for

Google, Lloyds, Barclay Card, MBNA, Visa or Mastercard

If there isn't a NFC Wallet how can I use my phone?

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Re: Pay By Phone

Barclaycard ( in conjunction with Orange) offer a "Quick tap" NFC app on certain phones , I think thats about it though.

You can get a "PayTag" (which is the contactless part of your card on a sticker you can stick on your phone case) and an app to manage it (also available from Barclays, other banks may also have this).

.

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Amazingly it does seem that the concept of a wallet

is going to be untenable.

That's the future, at least the pickpockets will have to target you several times to clean you out...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amazingly it does seem that the concept of a wallet

"That's the future, at least the pickpockets will have to target you several times to clean you out..."

I stopped using a wallet a decade ago when doing a lot of travel for just this reason.

It is very easy to lift a whole wallet (or just leave it somewhere) - much harder to remove the great pile of cards, cash, and old eftpos slips that fill my pockets.

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Re: Amazingly it does seem that the concept of a wallet

Hahaha. Good one.

Wait, were you being serious? If so, consider this:

The pickpocket can be a foot away and read your card with no effort and without further action. The gear costs about £30. There won't be many physical pickpockets in the future, because why would you bother taking the actual card instead of just transferring the money?

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Pint

Oyster == Yes , Pay By Bonk ===== No way in hell

Simple as that really.

Nowt more to say. Time for a well earned end of week beer.

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Anonymous Coward

Save the language

“The potential for mobile contactless payments is huge but brands are only just starting to pilot the technology" blah blah.

I would like to object to the use of the word "brands" in this manner by the drone quoted in the article. A "brand" does not do something. A person or company may do something. They may also own "brands".

Back to my cave.

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get a grip

1 contactless payments need to be mills away

2 if you have two contactless cards together it takes neither card

3 2 seconds ... The difference is mill secs but still counts!

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Oyster was made to work by pricing out the alternatives ...

I remember when Oyster first came in to being in the UK (I already had an Octopus card from HK so was familiar and happy to use them). What was noticeable, however, was that there were suddenly a number of fare rises for existing season tickets and traditional pay by cash tickets making them considerably more expensive.

It did not stop there, however, as it was cheaper for regular travellers to pay by period, not by journey - even with the daily cap, so next period charges rose several times until they became too expensive with the end result being that the only economical way to regularly travel by tube was to use a pay-by-journey oyster card.

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Coat

"individual journeys will be shown online to anyone who registers their account"

But I don't want anyone to view my journeys!

Seriously, has anyone thought of the privacy implications? Apart from the stalkers, of course.

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what's all this about weekly capping?

What if you only use the tube, train or buses 2 or 3 days a week, but a lot. Are you going to get nailed for the cost of up to 2-3 travelcards each time? How will you be able to check? And how difficult will it be to get money back if you think they've overcharged you? And what about the fines if you forget to tap the card at one end of the journey, as can easily be the case at stations without barriers if you happen to be absentminded? Will they be capped too? Or are we going to have a ball, as with parking fines? The paper ticket insulates you against such worries, surely it's better just for that reason...

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It going to be interesting to watch the number of contactless payments in the 6 to 12 months as buses are no longer accepting cash, which will lead people to realise they can use their bank card rather than having to wait for the next bus and hunt for somewhere to top up your oyster, impossible to do late at night.

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Anonymous Coward

???

That bloke paying with his phone was only charged £1.40? I assume that was the price for getting on and off at the same stop. It's usually about 8 quid to go more than a couple of mile

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Re: ???

It's almost correct - the standard TfL fare for a single bus journey of any distance is now £1.45 (certain concessionary discounts aside).

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Checking in and out with Oyster

With Oyster you need to check out correctly after every journey.

I use the tube infrequently enough but will need it for occasional cross-London trips.

Previously at unfamiliar small tube stations it is genuinely difficult to find an Oyster machine to check out at - seems that sometimes there is only one machine for the whole station.

Not to mention the ease with which you can forget to check out.

How about a better system like in most capitals of the world - prepaid zonal tickets!

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Re: Checking in and out with Oyster

"Previously at unfamiliar small tube stations it is genuinely difficult to find an Oyster machine to check out at"

Unless you're interchanging to another mode of transport without passing through the station gateline, or have found a rare station (not even sure if there are any left now, there were precious few around in the years just prior to Oyster being introduced) which still allows exit to the street without passing through a gateline, then you don't need to find the Oyster validator (the ones with the pink reader pads) to touch out, you just touch out as normal on the yellow reader when you leave the station via the gateline, even if the gates are already open.

"How about a better system like in most capitals of the world - prepaid zonal tickets!"

You mean like a Travelcard?

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Black Helicopters

Cashless society ... please no !!

All these comments about the fine details of the plan and the odd gotchas, and only one post about privacy. A documentary I watched recently just glibly mentioned the massive number of RIPA requests that TfL get, asking for travel history on people. And this wasn't just the big TLAs after the next Os.bin.La. They also included a massive number of requests from local authorities, and Grud alone knows what they were after.

We keep getting electronic cash mechanisms waved in our faces for a bit and then roundly stomped on by TPTB (anyone remember Mondex). The usual old saw is "Money Laundering", but I do wonder if there is more than a little pressure coming from the payment industry and from those that like to be able to find out what we're doing for very little cost.

When oh when we get something that is as anonymous as cash, but works like a card?

Maybe this will be Bitcoin ?

I do hope so

[Obligatory Black Chopper ;) ]

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Re: Cashless society ... please no !!

Handy if you want to break in someplace without risk. Check the database, see both adults are on the other side of the city from the card transactions, and carry on.

Just don't forget about the school holidays!

Using a debit card would also ruin the whole 'signing out' anti-fraud Oyster thing that stops card cloning being much use - it knows you are on one platform so it won't authorise the same card again onto the same platform. Are people going to have to re-bonk their debit card?

A debit card could do the same, in theory, but since you could go target a shop or something to skim the cards instead... not so useful. Since Oyster is only used on the bus, train or to open the door at London Hackspace, it is far harder to skim.

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