Will I Ever Use My Contactless Card on TFL Busses/Tubes?

May 18, 2014
Posted by: David

I ask this question of myself given the last six months of news and activity. TFL announces that it will finally roll out Contactless acceptance onto the Tube network. But there is one small problem, or is it, ‘Card Clash’.

Simply put if I have more than one contactless card in my wallet and things could mess up or as TFL put it: “If you keep more than one contactless card in your purse or wallet (including an Oyster card) you could get a red light when you try to use your card at stations or on buses. The red light means you won't have paid for your journey and if you are at a ticket gate it may not open. This may be because of card clash.”

But is this a problem, these days, like the majority of Londoners I see every day I tap in and out of the tube/underground, not with my main wallet but a little plastic holder. The holder contains my Oyster Card. So now I suppose given what the advice and that both my debit and credit cards are contactless I will need to keep one of them or another card in a separate plastic holder just for travel.

But hang on, I only carry one personal credit and debit card with me, do I really want to put one of them in separate holder that I might forget or lose somewhere as it not after all my main wallet. I know I will get a separate card, but for safety rather than make it credit or debit I will use a prepaid card. That way I know what is on there and if it gets lost or stolen I am protected.

Hang on though, I started out this journey with a prepaid card being kept in a separate holder, ah yes it was called an Oyster Card. Now they are suggesting I should replace it with an open loop card, say a prepaid card.

As a regular traveller I can see little benefit currently in doing this, I am not a total cynic and perhaps one day when it is all on my phone I might start tapping with NFC, but with headlines also around of “Transport for London (TfL) has handed over £11,000 in refunds to around 1,800 bus commuters for charging twice the fare”, March 2014; I do feel somewhat safer with my old fashioned Oyster Card. It has auto top up so it never runs out, any thief can only use it on the underground so they are not pickpocket’s top priority.

Certainly for the tourist coming into London I can see the benefits of just being able to ‘tap and go’, assuming of course they don’t have more than one contactless card in their wallet