Feeds

Credit cards at the turnstile across London by 2013

We don't need no stinkin' Oyster

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Transport for London has confirmed that by the end of 2012 it will accept contactless credit and debit cards at the tube turnstiles, just after the Olympic tourists leave.

Those tourists will be able to pay for bus journeys, as London's 8,000 buses will be equipped to accept PayWave, PayPass and ExpressPay before the July kick-off, but upgrading the underground network will take a little longer so Londoners will have to wait until the end of 2012 before being able to cut up their Oyster cards.

Which is what Transport for London wants – Oyster transactions cost the operator money, while dealing directly with the banks is cheaper if more complicated. Buses are relatively easy to bill for: bus journeys in London are billed at a flat rate (£2.20 for cash, £1.30 for prepaid Oyster card, we don't yet know how much for a credit card), while the cost of an underground journey is dependent on the distance travelled.

There's also a time consideration – Transport for London reckons that 500ms is the longest one can wait for a card to be accepted, with 200ms being the target. Contacting a bank and checking the credit available (as required for a debit card) within 200ms is tough, and if the bank happens to be foreign then it is next to impossible. NFC Times reckons that means batching transactions, with rejected cards being blacklisted and caught when the customer leaves the network (London's system requires a tap of the card on exit as well as entry).

Transport for London is also making the usual noises about on-phone transactions, which will come once the phones support NFC and the operators/banks can fund a business model to make it happen. Until then we'll just have to swipe out wallets against the reader and hope it picks out the right piece of plastic – though putting one of them into a keyfob, or a wristwatch or similar, might make more sense.

The plans were leaked to London Tonight back in October, but back then we didn't have London's foppish Mayor Boris Johnson to provide a typically Beano'esque quote: "It is tip-top news that from next year a simple tap of a contactless bank card will be enough to whizz you from A to B in this great city."

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.