TFL reveals smartphones are too slow for payments


Transport authority reportedly in discussions with operators to bring service to capital when speed of payments is improved

Transport for London (TFL) tests have revealed that smartphones are currently too slow for payments on its network.

According to the FT, London’s transport operator is in discussions with EE and Vodafone about bringing contactless mobile payments to the capital, but it will not be implemented until the speed of the transactions improve.

The scheme would use NFC technology, which is available on all high-end Android devices but has been shunned by Apple thus far, to collect payment. In the initial stages at least, this would not be a scheme that is available on a widespread basis.

To prevent long queues forming, the payments would need to be as instantaneous as Oyster cards or the contactless bank card payments that have been used on the bus network since 2012.

TFL has just upgraded its payment devices to enable them to accept the smartphone payments which would also require the user to download an app for it to work.

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,” said TFL director of customer experience Shashi Verma.

“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.”