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September 2, 2014

Vodafone to offer contactless payments for TfL customers this month

Launch will be first UK application of Vodafone SmartPass NFC technology.

By Vinod

Vodafone has announced it will be bringing its NFC mobile payments technology to the UK for the first time later this month.

The operator confirmed that SmartPass, first announced last November and already operating in several European countries, will be available in time for its customers to use on the London Underground and other Transport for London (TfL) services, which will start accepting contactless payments from September 16.

"Vodafone SmartPass will be offered to customers to make contactless mobile payments for TfL modes of transport," Vodafone confirmed to CBR. "It will be using NFC-enabled devices."

SmartPass allows payments of £20 or less to be made by users simply passing their enabled devices over compatible Visa terminals, without the need to enter a PIN (although higher amounts will require this).

Users can top up their SmartPass accounts using their debit or credit cards no matter which bank they use, and can make payments wherever they see a contactless terminal.

Customers without an NFC-enabled phone can still use the service by downloading the Vodafone SmartPass app and applying for an ‘NFC tag’ that can then be attached to their device.

TfL announced it would be allowing payment on the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground via contactless methods earlier this year, although initially the service was only open to users of EE’s Cash On Tap NFC service.

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Vodafone has been gradually rolling out the SmartPass app across Europe as part of its Vodafone Wallet service, which was first launched in Spain in November 2013, before spreading to Germany and the Netherlands in March 2014 and Italy in April 2014.

"Vodafone’s mobile wallet is the first European mobile payment service built on the GlobalPlatform open standard," the carrier said upon the launch of Vodafone Wallet, "which makes it easy for organisations, including banks, retailers and transport companies to host services in the wallet.

"Vodafone Wallet allows customers to leave their cards and coins at home and manage their daily transactions efficiently and securely using their smartphone".


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