TfL network goes open-loop – will you use your bank card?

TfL will finally have contactless payments to roll out across the capital’s transport network.

So Transport for London (TfL) has finally set a date for contactless payments to roll out across the capital’s transport network, allowing pay as you go passengers to tap in and out with their bank-issued contactless cards. Originally, this was scheduled to happen by the end of 2012, writes Ellie Chambers

However, TfL has now said the system will go live in less than two months, on 16 September this year.

Director of customer experience Shashi Verma says the system: “will make it easier and more convenient for customers to pay for their travel, freeing them of the need to top up Oyster credit,” but I wonder if it will.

How many people do you see treating a bank card as they do an Oyster card? That is – keeping it in a separate holder, often in an outside pocket and keeping it close to hand.

As more and more cards become contactless, passengers will need to keep the card they use for travel separate to their other cards to avoid card clash. But if you keep this card separate to your wallet, then it may not be convenient to use for other purposes – you’ve effectively replaced one travel-specific card with another.

There’s also the risk of losing your card – if you lose an Oyster card, it’s annoying. It may even, depending on your balance, be expensive. But it’s unlikely to be as expensive as losing your bank card could be – it’s unlikely to expose you to fraud.

It’s a decision every commuter will have to make for themselves but I know I for one wouldn’t be comfortable doing many of the things I do with my Oyster card with a bank card – holding it from one end of my journey to the other, putting it in an outer pocket in my jacket or bag or even using it as a bookmark.  

Would you?