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Oyster card evolves into OnePulse

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Transport for London has launched a version of its smart card that can be used to pay for items other than travel.

TfL, in partnership with TranSys and Barclaycard, has released a three-in-one card that combines the ability to pay in advance for travel with credit card and cashless payment facilities.

Named the OnePulse card, it was launched on 10 September 2007 and has involved licensing the technology used for the capital's Oyster travelcard to a third party.

It enables cardholders to preload money onto the card for pay-as-you-go travel on the city's Underground, buses, Docklands Light Railway and trams. It can also be used as a season travelcard or bus pass.

The cashless payment function uses Visa 'wave and pay' technology for purchases under £10. It enables them to buy everyday items, such as a newspaper or coffee on the way to work, by simply touching the card on a special reader at thousands of outlets across London. These transactions are listed on cardholders' credit card statements.

The card can also be used with a PIN number as a credit card for larger transactions.

A TfL spokesperson told GC News that the integration did not mean that banks would have access to passenger movements, nor would TfL have access to purchase and transaction data.

"There is no information share between the two except that when someone gets their credit card, the (application) information is passed over to us so that we know who they are."

The launch follows a successful five-month trial that ended in May 2007. This involved about 60 Barclaycard employees testing the wave and pay technology. The spokesperson added: "The Oyster technology is tried and tested so it was just to see if it could cope with the additional functionality."

Shashi Verma, director of fares and ticketing at TfL, said: "Since its launch in 2003, the Oyster card has proven to be a huge success with more than 10 million cards now in circulation.

"This innovative partnership with Barclaycard is another way that Oyster card technology can make life more convenient for Londoners, providing them with not only cheaper, easier and more convenient travel, but also the ability to make low-cost transactions on everyday items."

According to TfL, the proportion of cash payments on the Tube and busses has fallen to three per cent. It also claims that 40 people per minute can pass an Underground payment gate using Oyster, compared with 15 per minute using printed tickets.

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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