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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oystercard & Barclays tie the knot

Oystercard walletBuying Oysters with your Oystercard

If you're a Barclaycard customer watch out from some trials in February where you can use your Oystercard to buy low cost items in newsagents, pubs, and coffee bars, as well as car parks. So in a matter of seconds you can potentially pay for sarnies, beer, coffee and your paper by waving the card over a reader just as you do on a Tube or bus. TfL have been in talks with Barclays for some time now about exclusive rights for "wave & pay" technology. If the trials are successful the service will be rolled out for all Barclaycard holders and I'm sure it's something that other banks will want to cash in on eventually.

According to the BBC "The trial will combine two distinct elements; one for the combined credit/Oyster card and the other for the contactless technology.

But the Oyster and credit or debit accounts would still remain separate.

"If you tap the yellow Oyster pad at a tube station, to buy a ticket, money will be deducted from the Oyster account," said Barclaycard's Ian Barber.

"But if you pay for a coffee and a newspaper in a shop that will come from your credit or debit account."

I've only just got my head around using an Oystercard, so I can't see myself rushing to get a Barclaycard for this. Industry analysts also believe it might take card users might take some time to get to grips with the idea.

"This type of innovation is very much welcomed in the cards market," said Robert Kenley, head of credit cards at Moneysupermarket. "However, the convenience of having three payment types on the same card could potentially lead to customer confusion about which part of the card is being debited."

As usual with anything Oystercard related, Sheriff Ken is a happy bunny as he reckons it will save us having to carry as much cash around. Any thoughts? Plus if anyone's used Hong Kong's Octopus card - you might be able let us know how it's going down there.

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