TECH

You Could Soon Pay For Your Tube Ride With Your Phone

22/04/2014 16:26 BST | Updated 22/04/2014 16:59 BST

ransport for London is looking to introduce contactless mobile phone payments on the Tube.

EE and Vodafone are among the mobile networks said to be in talks to bring the NFC-based system to the underground network.

It is already possible to use phones and contactless cards to pay for journeys on the bus network, and now the Financial Times says the same system could be implemented on trains.

The main factor holding back the plan is not technical as such - the Oyster barriers are already able to recognise payments from NFC devices in theory - but the payment system itself still needs work.

The current plan would see each operator or banks configure mobile payment wallet apps to work with the system, from which 'pay as you go' payments can be taken by TFL.

However TFL said that further testing is needed, and said current NFC standards are not fast enough to work on the Tube. It said that while payment cards are fast enough, slower transaction speeds from NFC-equipped phones mean it's not practical to make the switch.

TFL told Sky in a statement:

"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."