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Transport for London's Oyster e-Purse

A payment revolution


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Transport for London's Oyster e-Purse

Although cash is still the dominant method of payment in the UK, there is a continuing shift towards electronic payments. The idea of ‘cash alternative’ smartcards for low value purchases is catching on. Elsewhere in the world, transport-related schemes in Hong Kong and Singapore have already demonstrated the benefits of eliminating cash for customers and merchants alike.

Transport for London, the Mayor of London’s strategic transport authority, were looking for opportunities to generate more revenue for reinvestment in London’s transport network. They knew their successful ticketing and pre-pay smartcard, Oyster, had great potential. Oyster has the largest customer base of all smartcards in the UK, with approximately 2.5 million users.

TfL decided to explore the possibility of extending Oyster to enable its customers to make low value payments. Aware that the UK e-Purse market had seen a number of unsuccessful experimental offerings, TfL’s challenge was to establish how it could be done, and answer some key questions:

  • Strategy: What was the low payments market opportunity in London and the UK? Was there compelling
    financial/strategic justification for TfL to enter the market?
  • Regulatory compliance: What regulatory issues were involved and how would they affect TfL?
  • Execution: What was the best approach to develop and exploit the opportunity?

For further information, download our case study  Transport for London's Oyster e-Purse. (PDF, 86KB)

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