London transport may accept payments via smart phones

London commuters will soon be able to use their smart phones to pay for travel as part of a wider shift towards contactless payment schemes.

Mobile users will now pay for travel through a swipe of their devices as part of the plans being negotiated by mobile companies and the capital’s transport authority, reported Financial Times.

As part of the move, EE and Vodafone operators have held negotiations with Transport for London (TfL) to pay for tickets using phones.

Currently, most of the phones contain near field communication (NFC) capabilities as an Oyster card to link the payments with various bank or operator apps.

Known as "pay as you go" scheme, the trial version will use mobile operator’s apps to load money and operators will consider payment for tickets on a weekly or monthly basis.

According to the publication, EE will make payments on London transport via its Cash on Tap app, while Vodafone is planning to expand its mobile wallet contactless payment service in European countries this summer to pay for the TfL scheme.

Meantime, O2 provides a train app to allow users to check timetables and book tickets online from any UK mainland rail company.

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," he added.