From September this year, millions of London Underground passengers will be able to access the network using only their bank card.

As long as their credit, debit or prepaid card is set up to enable contactless payment, they will be able to access the services provided by Transport for London (TfL).

All tube users will need to do is tap their card on the terminal gates as they start and end their journey on London transport, with payments then going straight from their accounts.

According to TfL, the move has the potential to save up to £80m across a five-year period and could see prepaid cards increase in popularity.

Plenty of payment options for customers

Users can pay for journeys using contactless payment from 16 September this year, while the same method of payment has existed on London buses since 2012.

Now the technology is being expanded to encompass journeys on the Underground, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground trains.

The move to allow for the payment of single journeys is a year later than planned and follows an extensive trial of around 3,000 passengers.

Potentially the move could see the death of the Oyster Card should people choose this alternative payment method in large numbers.

However, TfL has said that it has no plans to phase the method out just yet and is keen to offer passengers as many options as possible.

Things to watch out for

One of the things that customers must watch out for with the new method is not to have two contactless cards in their wallet – amid warnings that the wrong card could potentially be charged.

Meanwhile caps on the cost of journeys – as currently exists on Oyster Cards – will also still be in existence and all UK-issued contactless credit, debit and prepaid cards should be capable of payment.

TfL did warn than some non-UK cards may not work, while customers will be able to keep track of payments and journeys from the previous seven days via the TfL website.

Contactless payments are slowly growing in popularity and the availability of prepaid options should boost that market as well.

Barclaycard reports that 700,000 contactless payments are made every day, with around 30% of the cards currently in circulation being equipped with the technology.

Managing finances with prepaid cards

A prepaid card enables finances to be easily managed and is a great way of ensuring that you don’t spend more than you would like.

A prepaid card limits spending to the amount on the card at any given moment and is not directly linked to a bank account, making funds safer as a result.

The cards can easily be topped up or replaced if required, while accounts can be checked regularly online if needed.