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Payment by contactless credit and debit cards launched on London buses

Whether you’ve forgotten your Oyster card or are visiting the capital for the day, the new contactless payment system introduced by Transport for London (TfL) will make life that bit more convenient.

From today (Thursday 13 December), passengers on London’s 8,500 buses will be able to use their contactless debit, credit or charge card to pay for their ticket.

Oyster card readers aboard the buses have been revamped so they are compatible with RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology, which supports the Oyster smartcard scheme, and NFC (near field communication), which is the system upon which contactless credit card payments operate.

Londoners and visitors are now able to use their American Express, MasterCard or Visa Europe contactless payment card to touch in on the yellow Oyster card readers and pay the cheaper Oyster fare.

It is hoped the convenience and the lower charges will encourage passengers to switch from cash to cards.

Shashi Verma, TfL’s Director of Customer Experience, said: “Making it easier and more convenient for people to travel around London is a key priority for us.

“Passengers will realise significant savings by swapping from cash to contactless payment card and getting the cheaper single Oyster fare.”

Cash is used to fund 85,000 bus journeys across the capital on a daily basis, which is costing passengers £2.30 rather than the £1.35 Oyster fare.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said the arrival of the new technology was welcome news.

“Lots of us have had the frustrating experience of dashing to board a bus only to discover that our Oyster card has run out of credit,” he said.

“With a simple touch of a contactless payment card, people can avoid having to scrabble for change and also still benefit from the Oyster fare discount.”

Buying tickets using a contactless payment card will only be available on London’s buses at first, but preparations are being made for the scheme to be rolled out across the rest of the capital’s transport system.

Paying via credit card is an increasingly money-savvy way to make purchases. While using contactless credit cards can save you money on London buses, cashback credit cards can boost your household income – which is especially welcome in the run-up to Christmas.

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