Transport for London testing smartphone payment system

London tube users may soon be able to purchase tickets or make payments for journeys through their NFC-enabled mobile devices as the transporter is testing a new payment system for the same.

Transport for London is in talks with two network providers, viz. EE and Vodafone, to allow commuters to pay for their tube fares using their smartphones.

While London Underground (LU) ticket barriers are already capable of reading contactless payment cards and NFC chips in smart mobile devices, the transporter is yet to officially launch such a system of payment.

Shashi Verma, director of customer experience at Transport for London, said, "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."

Tube networks will allow commuters to pre-load cash on their mobile applications and then use the loaded cash to pay for tube fares through their mobile devices at ticket barrier.

Previously, in 2008 and 2010, LU carried out tests to allow commuters to pay for fares through mobile phones but the projected were cancelled because the technology failed to complete the transaction in less than 500 milliseconds, as required.

Bus commuters have already been using their NFC-enabled smartphones to pay for journeys in London since December 2012.