Barclaycard is the latest payments provider to take advantage of Transport for London's (TfL) launch of a contactless payment system across its underground, overground and bus network.
Barclaycard is inviting travellers to sign up for one of 10,000 free wearable bPay bands that will allow them to use contactless payments across the capital with just a wave of the wrist.
Earlier this year, mobile operator EE said its customers would be able to travel on TfL's network using their mobile phone to make contactless payments.
EE is the only UK mobile network provider to offer a contactless payment service, and the extension of its Cash on Tap solution on the new TfL payment system will enable passengers to avoid queuing to top-up an Oyster card. The EE system was developed in partnership with MasterCard
The Barclaycard bPay bands take away the need for commuters to get out their debit, credit or travelcard to travel on the London travel network. The wristbands contain a contactless payment chip that is linked to any UK Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card. The bands can be used for any transactions up to £20 wherever contactless payments are accepted, whether at retail outlets or across the London transport network.
Barclaycard says the bPay band will also help the capital’s commuters avoid "card clash", which can arise where the card readers on buses, stations or at tram stops in London detect more than one contactless card, and either take payment from a card that was not intended to be used or present an error message.
The first 10,000 applicants will be sent their band this month, and once they have activated the band they will be able to use it straight away for payments and travel across the capital.
The bPay band is supported by a pre-paid account to which funds are either added automatically when the balance runs low or which can be done manually online.
By using a contactless system to pay for London travel, commuters will benefit from paying the same fare as Oyster card users, but they will be charged directly when they touch in and out on readers at the start and end of every journey.
The bPay band is expected to be more widely available next year, said Barclaycard. In 2012, Barclaycard introduced PayTag, a little sticker that turned any mobile phone into a way to make contactless payments.
Tami Hargreaves, head of contactless at Barclaycard, said, “Every second counts to Londoners on the morning commute. With bPay band you just hold your wrist to the card reader to pay for your travel, you can then also use it to pay for your coffee on the way into the office, and for your lunchtime sandwich.”