Contactless Payments Rule as London Buses Ban Cash?

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Leading price comparison website, compareandsave.com, comments BBC reports that TfL could phase out cash on the buses before the end of 2013.

2 london buses

London Buses To Go Cashless?

With more and more credit card, debit card and prepaid credit card issuers offering contactless functionality, you can see why TfL might have this on their agenda.

Contactless payments for public transport have only been with us for 10 years, but with just 1% of bus journeys on Transport for London (TfL) paid for with cash, it looks likely that contactless might soon be the only way to pay. In fact, if a January 2013 mayoral briefing for TfL and reported by the BBC is anything to go by, London buses could be fully contactless by the end of this year.

The arguments for the change are straightforward. Only 1% of bus journeys are paid for by cash, collecting cash costs TfL £30 million per year and it is believed that cash payments slow journeys by delaying boarding. This, coupled with the fact that TfL are expected to expand a scheme allowing people to pay using contactless debit and credit cards onto the underground in the near future, giving people additional options over and above using Oyster, makes the case for the change pretty compelling.

Of course the change will not be to everyone’s liking – especially for those caught in an emergency situation – and given that the final decision rests with the Mayor of London, it also has political resonance. The Labour Party is already strongly urging TfL to retain cash as a payment method. Valerie Shawcross, London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark, argues, “There may not be many occasions on which you need to pay in cash, but actually they could be crucial and I think Transport for London so think again about taking this facility away, especially on the night buses.”

A compareandsave.com spokesperson commented:

“Contactless payments are obviously a quick and simple way to pay and with more and more credit card, debit card and prepaid credit card issuers offering contactless functionality you can see why TfL might have this on their agenda. Whether that is good for Londoners, and the tourists who bring in huge revenues into the capital, is debatable. Work might need to be undertaken to ensure there is a failsafe to ensure people aren’t stranded in London with hard currency in their wallets!”

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compareandsave.com is one of the UK’s leading personal finance comparison websites. Based in Colchester, Essex, compareandsave.com has been helping UK consumers get a better deal on credit cards, saving, loans and more for over five years.

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