Rail and Tube users could be overcharged because of a quirk in the contactless payment
system, it has been revealed.
Commuters who, when touching in and out, have their Oyster and bank cards in the same wallet are having fares deducted from the wrong one, London transport bosses have warned.
Those affected are travellers who have already loaded their Oyster with a travelcard and so run the risk of paying for their journey twice when the yellow readers fail to distinguish between the two.
It could also trigger bank charges by pushing the card holder into, or further into, their overdraft or credit limit.
In one example, reported to Money Saving Expert, a passenger unwittingly paid three bus fares in a week on a card without even knowing it was contactless.
Although only available on buses, contactless payment is due to be rolled out to all London transport this year.
Transport for London has warned passengers about the ‘card clash’ issue and a spokeswoman accepted the system would need a ‘change of behaviour’ for many. He insisted the technology would make commuting easier.
“Technology isn’t to blame here,” comments Akif Khan, director of strategic initiatives, CyberSource. “The contactless payment system in question is only doing its job: interacting with contactless cards placed near it. What’s needed here is a change in consumer behaviour. As people add more contactless payment cards to their wallets, they will need to be ready to pull out the right card rather than simply touch down the whole wallet. Unless they want to pay more than once.
“Whilst this could potentially result in commuter delays at ticket barriers, it certainly shouldn’t distract TfL from modernising payments. After all, this is less about quirk in system, more about evolution of customer behaviour.”
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