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London's Tube Trains to Test NFC Based Mobile Payments

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Transport for London, which oversees public transport in the UK's capital city is reportedly preparing to launch a mobile payments scheme based on NFC chips in smartphones.

The transport authority already supports contactless payments through its own MiFARE based payment cards, and recently added limited support for direct payments through contactless debit cards.

The UK's mobile networks are now set to add support for their own mobile wallets to the payment mix.

A report in the Financial Times suggested that the service would be initially limited to prepay accounts, which debit a charge for each journey made, as opposed to monthly billing as used by the majority of commuters.

Users of the service would need to top up their mobile wallet accounts, which would then be charged for each trip.

Although the Oyster card is based on RFID technology, the card readers in train stations have recently been upgraded to support NFC payments as well.

Shashi Verma, TfL's director of customer experience, said: "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."

London's buses will soon ditch cash entirely and switch to contactless card based payments. The same is expected to take place on the railway networks as well within the next couple of years.

On the web: The Financial Times

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Tags: london  nfc  UK