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A Touch of Magic: The Future of Oyster's Contact-Free Technology

Aug 31, 2008
It is now second nature to the vast majority of Londoners: walk up to the ticket barrier, wave your hand at the pad, and away you go. It sounds so simple and convenient, yet not many people contemplate the absolute genius of design that allows that tiny card they're waving to recognise their particular journey from 1.83 million different options, in just one fifth of a second!

With such science like that behind it, it's not difficult to identify why the Oyster card has made such a splash since its release in 2003. Since then over ten million cards have been issued with around five million in constant use around the capital. And although it is estimated that the use of Oyster cards can see forty people a minute through the ticket barriers, as opposed to the fifteen-a-minute using conventional tickets, the reduction of queuing time is far from the only benefit for Oyster users.

Tickets and railcards are also cheaper, with specialist discounts for Oyster users, and one can top-up the credit on their card with ease, be it by cash at any station in London, via the TfL phone-line, or most conveniently, online at the Oystercard website, where users can also register a credit or debit card to automatically top their Oyster card up whenever their balance falls below 5! No wonder over 80% of London's bus and tube journeys now involve Oyster!

With One-Touch technology revolutionising travel around the capital, you have to wonder where this might lead, and what this type of wonder-gadget might revolutionise next...or do you? In 2007, Oyster got together with credit card issuer, Barclaycard, and told us exactly what this type of technology would seek to include next: making payments via credit card.

TranSys, the brains behind Oyster's success, have developed new credit cards that take this contact-less payment technology a step further. Labelled as a 3-in-1 card, Barclaycard's 'OnePulse' credit card will combine a credit card with an Oyster card, and will also allow the same method of wave-and-pay for purchases of under 10 at stores with a One-Touch pad installed. Stores with One-Touch pads ready for use include London favourites Coffee Republic and EAT, as well as Krispy Kreme, YO! Sushi and Books Etc. The card will also have a standard 'chip-and-pin' chip for purchases over 10.

The only possible drawback to the new OnePulse card is that it is currently only available as a credit card, and not as a debit card. But with the other usual benefits of a credit card, such as security and partner store discounts, it could be seen as a practical choice for credit card users living in London.
About the Author
This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.
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