Oyster cards to go contactless with Barclaycard
In the UK, Transport for London (TfL) and TranSys, the consortium which runs the city's Oyster smart card, have announced the successful completion of the technical trial of a new combined Oyster and Barclaycard, which also includes Visa's contactless payment technology.
The Barclaycard partnership is TranSys' first agreement to license Oyster to selected third parties in order to improve the access and convenience that Oyster offers to travellers in London. The trial aims to enable passengers to make quicker, contactless payments and travel around the city using one card.
Expanding the trial Since December 2006, a technical trial of 60 cards held by Barclaycard employees based in Northampton has been taking place to test the functionality and reliability of the technology. A contactless terminal was installed in the coffee shop at Barclaycard's head office, and the cards have been used on the TfL network more than 2,500 times to make journeys or add Oyster products to the card.
The trial has been concluded successfully, with no significant problems being identified with the technology. Cards are now being issued to a larger number of employees, including those based at Barclays' head office in Canary Wharf, London, to enable the technology to be tested in greater volumes. Two more contactless terminals have been installed in coffee shops at Barclays in Canary Wharf.
Consumer launch soon Over the next few months an increasing number of cards will be issued to more employees, including those of TranSys, TfL and Visa, with the aim of having approximately 2,000 trial cards issued before the planned consumer launch later on in 2007. According to Shashi Verma, director for the Oyster card at TfL, "The new card will give passengers the ability to pay for low cost goods and take advantage of Oyster fares on the same card, reducing the need to carry cash."
To date more than 10 million Oyster cards have been issued.
At the same time, Barclaycard Business and Computer Cab plc have announced the unveiling of the first taxi contactless payments system in London. The result is a 'concept cab' with Visa 'wave and pay' contactless payment technology, aiming to show how the taxi company can offer customers a more secure way to pay taxi fares than carrying cash.