Barclaycard secures new ten-year merchant acquirer contract with TfL

  • As TfL’s merchant acquirer, Barclaycard will continue to play a lead role in delivering one of the UK’s largest payments infrastructure projects
  • Renewed partnership will see Barclaycard support the launch of the Elizabeth line and help introduce contactless payments for train travel beyond London
  • Contactless transactions now represent almost four in ten Pay As You Go (PAYG) journeys on London’s buses, Tube and rail services, with the number continuing to grow

Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, has retained its contract to provide payment solutions to Transport for London (TfL) for another seven years, with an option to extend for a further three years.

TfL and Barclaycard have a longstanding relationship spanning over two decades which has seen the two companies work together to transform how we pay for travel across the nation’s capital city.

The full roll-out of contactless payments on TfL in September 2014 has been a driving factor in facilitating faster, easier and safer travel across London. As TfL’s merchant acquirer, Barclaycard has processed over 278 million contactless transactions – driven by journeys made on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus and most National Rail services in London every day.

The renewed partnership will see Barclaycard continue to play a key role in delivering one of the UK’s largest payments infrastructure projects by supporting TfL as its network grows beyond London. This includes providing contactless payment solutions for the Elizabeth line, which will see services running from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east by December 2019.

To facilitate contactless payments on London’s transport network Barclaycard worked with TfL to develop a unique solution which is compatible with the way TfL charges for contactless journeys. At the end of the day the cost of journeys are aggregated and checked against specially designed transit fraud and risk rules. Where applicable, they are also ‘capped’ at the cost of the daily or weekly travelcard, to ensure that customers always pay the lowest available fare for the journeys they make. Transactions are then processed through Barclaycard’s transit enabled systems and the customer is billed with a single amount while also price-matching the Oyster system. Transactions which appear on the cardholder’s debit or credit card statement are clearly identified and, unlike Oyster, no topping-up is required.

Since the introduction of contactless payments, TfL has seen the number of transactions made using ‘touch and go’ grow exponentially. Contactless transactions now represent almost four in ten (39 per cent) of all Pay As You Go (PAYG) journeys, with the number continuing to grow as commuters increasingly enjoy the speed, ease and flexibility that the technology brings.

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at Transport for London, said:

“Contactless payments have completely transformed the way people pay for travel in London, with more than 800 million journeys already made and around 1.8 million journeys being made every day. This new 10-year contract will help ensure these numbers continue to grow while also providing support to allow us to develop our ticketing system even further.”

Paulette Rowe, Managing Director of Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said:

“We have used our five decades of experience in payments technology to help London become a world-leader in transport ticketing. The introduction of contactless payments has revolutionised travel in and out of the Capital, making paying for journeys quicker and easier for both everyday commuters and the millions of tourists who visit the city each year. We’re looking forward to embarking on the next phase of our partnership with TfL to roll-out a range of new technology initiatives in London and beyond.”

A brief history of contactless payments across Transport for London

September 2007:  Barclaycard introduced the OnePulse credit card, which combined the functionality of the Oyster card with a Visa contactless enabled credit card, allowing travelers to pay for their journeys across the TfL network using contactless payments. The OnePulse card also marked the launch of contactless payments in the UK, allowing shoppers to make purchases up to £10 (now £30) with ‘touch and go’ technology for the first time.

December 2012: London’s buses began accepting contactless debit and credit card payments.

September 2014: Contactless technology expanded to cover tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, and most National Rail services.

July 2015: Apple Pay became accepted on TfL. As other contactless ways to pay such as Barclaycard’s Contactless Mobile and Samsung Pay subsequently launched, they also become accepted.

January 2016: Pay as you go with Oyster and Contactless extended to cover rail services between London and Gatwick Airport. More than three million contactless journeys have already been made on these services since its introduction.