London bus contactless system charging wrong cards

One of the new contactless card readers on buses

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One hang-over from introducing contactless bank cards on the buses to pay for your fare, is that some people are being charged on the wrong card.

This happens when your bank card and your Oyster card are next to each other in your wallet.

Transport for London (TfL) did warn passengers this could happen.

It could mean you could be charged twice for your fare, for example if you have a weekly travelcard loaded on your Oyster card and when getting on the bus you are charged on your bankcard.

I've also been contacted by TfL staff who are getting charged on their bank card instead of their free staff Oyster card.

Not high number

The numbers are not high at the moment, Tfl claim they have only been contacted 60 times so far about incorrect charging.

But many people do not check their Oyster or bank statements.

That means the real number is certainly higher and as this system gets more popular it will only increase.

It is certainly worth keeping an eye on and keeping your bankcard and Oyster card separate.

Blocking sleeve

Another solution suggested to me is an RFID blocking sleeve. That would stop the radio signal needed to take money off your bankcard.

TfL's Shashi Verma said: "When a contactless payment card and an Oyster card are presented simultaneously to an Oyster reader, bundled together in a wallet or purse for instance, the reader will reject the tap and no payment will be taken from either card.

"There is no possibility of both cards being charged.

"However, if a customer presents a wallet with two or more cards and there is a significant time gap before the second card is detected, this can result in the first card being charged which may not be the card the customer wanted to pay with.

Start Quote

We have had no instances of two cards being charged simultaneously for the same fare”

End Quote Shashi Verma TfL

"Since the launch on 13 December, 245,000 bus journeys have been made using a contactless payment card, now around 8,000-per-weekday.

"We have been contacted by just over one customer per day on average who have had their bus fare taken from their contactless payment card when they intended to use their Oyster card and we have given these customers a full refund.

"From our liaison with the payment card issuers, we believe that collectively they have dealt with a broadly similar number.

"However we have had no instances of two cards being charged simultaneously for the same fare."

Let me know how you're getting on.

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Surely it is obvious not to present several cards over the reader at the same time otherwise expect to be charged more than once.

    If I were to have six hankies together and placed them in water, I wouldn’t expect only the top one to get wet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    I fail to see why people are getting upset by this news. The reader is a dumb machine. I would have thought that most people are smarter than using two payment cards at the same time.

    Just mark me down!

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    #6 Theresa. Why attack Boris? You will only get charged in this way if you are dim enough to keep your bank card next to your Oyster card. TFL have warned people not to do that. You can moan as much as you like at Boris, it ain't his fault. There's no saving people from their own stupidity!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    This entire report and half the comments are pathetic.

    Anyone with a brain would have known this was possible the second they introduced the ability.

    In the future all these systems will run from our phones or a single card (or maybe a chip in our wrists); but for now people need to grow up and except responsibility for their own idiotic mistakes.

    FYI: This is a great addition to the service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Surely the answer is to not keep both oyster and bank card in the same place. I keep my oyster in a separate plastic wallet and just take that out- no chance of the wrong card being charged!


Comments 5 of 89



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