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Oyster-Barclaycard hybrid passes first technical trials

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Transport for London (TfL) and TranSys have said they have successfully completed the first technical trials of the combined Oyster and Barclaycard.

It amounts to a significant step towards making the Oyster card, currently used to prepay for travel around London, a means of payment for other transactions.

Since December, 60 Barclaycard employees have taken part in a technical trial to test the card's functionality and reliability. A contactless terminal was installed in the coffee shop at Barclaycard's head office in Northampton, 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.

TranSys, the consortium which manages the Oyster card for TfL, said the trial was successful and that no issues with the technology were identified.

Cards are now being issued to a larger number of employees, including those based at Barclay's head office in Canary Wharf, to test the technology under greater volumes. Two contactless terminals have been installed in coffee shops at Barclays in Canary Wharf.

Shashi Verma, director of Oyster card at TfL, said: "This is yet another example of Oyster at the forefront of the technology industry.

"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. It makes the already hugely successful Oyster card even more convenient."

In December 2006 TranSys and Barclaycard revealed plans to combine Oyster and Barclaycard on one piece of plastic. It was the first agreement to licence Oyster to selected third parties to extend the functions of the card.

The trial is aimed towards enabling passengers to use one card for different payments around the capital.

Over the next few months an increasing number of cards will be issued to employees, including those of TranSys, TfL and Visa, with the aim of having approximately 2,000 trial cards issued before the planned customer launch later in the year.

Barclaycard is in negotiations with a number of retail chains to make the card valid for use at shops all over the capital. A spokesperson said it also has the potential to be used in smaller, independent stores.

"It depends on the existing systems the shops have, but in most cases it would just be a case of plugging in a reader," the spokesperson said.

Discussions are also going on between TranSys and Barclaycard to establish the branding of the card before the public roll out.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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