Why you still can't pay with your smartphone to travel the tube

The convenience of not having to remember an Oyster card or train ticket as well as your phone, keys, wallet or purse and bag in the early morning rush is surely a benefit as well, as well as helping avoid 'card clash' where you can accidentally pay with a credit and Oyster card simultaneously if both are in your wallet placed on the reader.

It's not just the convenience of tapping to pay either, it's also one of the most secure ways to make a purchase.

"When you use contactless, you begin to understand that when you use the technology, there are so many layers of security that it's as safe as using any bank card, and much safer than using cash," added the Visa spokesperson.

The future is mobile

But despite the current issues with technology, the future is still apparently going to see smartphones come to the fore as a primary method of payment in the future as we become more comfortable with mobile spending.

"Mobile payments, including mobile contactless, will sit at the heart of how people pay in the future," the Visa spokesperson explained.

"The success of payments innovation, however, will not depend on the success of a particular piece of hardware or software. It will depend on the convenience and security of the payments system that supports it."

So where does this leave us in the UK?

"In principle, mobile phones with a Visa, Mastercard or AMEX payment application could be accepted on TfL services," Verma told us.

"We are testing to see how the devices perform on the system and welcome any innovations which improve the services and choices we are able to offer customers."

TfL now has its house in order and it's up to the rest of the industry to fall into line. "We've done the pioneering work and upgraded all of our readers, so now it is a matter for the mobile payments industry to bring products for their, and our, customers to use," Verma added.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.