Over the last week, the credit card company MasterCard has been offering free contactless travel around London. Owners of the NFC-ready Mastercard have been able to take advantage of a variety of free journeys on transport routes for London bus and tube, London overground and Docklands Light Railway routes. This latest scheme is an attempt by the credit card company to induce travellers to participate in contactless payments, as opposed to relying on the popular Oyster Card system and traditional paper tickets. Mastercard dubbed the scheme “Fare Free Fridays”.
Contactless systems multiply
The initiative is just the latest in a raft of similar measures which have been introduced into London public transport over the last few months. Earlier in the year, Barclaycard set up a charity scheme entitled “Penny for London”, which enabled members of the public to make small donations to charity every time they utilise an NFC payment system on public transport. And Zwipe and Mastercard have already collaborated on the world's first contactless payments card with an embedded fingerprint scanner. This particular credit card is utilised in order to make secure payments at any NFC-compatible outlet, but because of security features ensure that only the owner is able to use it. Other NFC-based systems have also been introduced. The Cash on Tap contactless payments app is now fully compatible with London rail services. This enables commuters to carry out a range of transactions using their mobile phone, and is accepted now on a raft of different public transport schemes throughout Britain's capital city. Barclaycard has also rolled out bPay wristbands to 10,000 Londoners. This is an NFC-powered wearable which enables contactless payments to be made by the wearer in both stores and some forms of public transport. The system only supports transactions up to £20 at present, but in time it is hoped that this can be extended. All outlets that offer NFC payments support bPay, which includes Co-op supermarkets, Subway, McDonalds, Starbucks and the London Underground.
Apple Pay and Apple Watch
What all of these initiatives indicate is a growing acceptance of contactless payments, and a bright future for mobile payment systems. The increasing prominence of NFC-based payments should be seen in the context of Apple’s recent announcement and release of the Apple Pay system. It is thought that this mobile payment system, which is integrated into the recent iPhone 6 smartphone and iPad Air 2 tablet, will have a massive impact on the acceleration of mobile payments. This is not least the case because the iPhone is the world's largest selling mobile device. Already Apple has formed partnerships with many prominent retailers, and the consumer electronics giant promises that Apple Pay will provide a unique combination of convenient contactless payment technology with the unique and high-grade security features that have come to be associated with Apple. Further advancing this trend is the impending popularity of wearable devices. The Barclaycard bPay wristband is really imitating existing wearable devices such as smartwatches. While this particular consumer electronics niche has not really reached a fertile audience yet that could be about to change in 2015 with the release of the Apple Watch. This technology release is surely one of the worst kept secret in the history of consumer electronics, yet Apple still insisted on keeping the Apple Watch under its hat for many months while preparations were made behind the scenes. But by announcing that it is to be released at some point in 2015, Apple essentially confirmed that the next calendar year could be the one in which smartwatches really begin to take off. Not only could this have a big impact on mobile payment systems, but there is a great deal of other functionality that could be delivered via smartwatches armed with NFC technology. The potential for airlines, for example, to deliver flight information and mobile boarding passes via smartwatches is an extremely intriguing concept for the tourism industry. Potentially the smartwatch can go hand-in-hand with mobile payment systems to create an extremely rich source of income for canny travel-related companies.
Tapping into NFC
The Digital Tourism Think Tank has previously reported on both the potential rise of wearable devices, as well as the significance of the Apple Pay system and mobile payments in general. But the utilisation of these payment systems on London public transport begins to give a real world example of how they can be implemented in a way that benefits both consumers and travel-related businesses. Although this isn't quite a mainstream technology yet, the time is coming where this will be the case. There are all manner of ways in which contactless and mobile technology can be used innovatively by both tourism-related companies and destinations in order to promote themselves and sell products. Only a few weeks ago, the New York Times reported on the latest market research report related to mobile payments. This was carried out by the research firm Forrester, which concluded that mobile-based payments in the United States alone are expected to reach $142 billion by 2019. Such estimates may not be entirely accurate, but it is clear that this will eventually be a vast marketplace. Both travel businesses and destinations should already be working out how to tap into it.
Discussioncomments powered by Disqus
More from #DTTT
In June we present:Live: #DTTTCampus
#DTTTCampus is here again and we are live from the ground in Oslo, Norway. We are so excited to be welcoming a range of speakers from around the world, from DMOs to travel film directors and industry content powerhouses. We are all set up in the newly transformed Høymagasinet and ready to get started! Stay […]
In May we present:Meet…Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo from Estonia Tourist Board
Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo is the Head of Tourism Marketing at Visit Estonia, and she will be joining us at #DTTTCampus alongside a panel of other DMOs to share insights on the in’s and out’s of Visit Estonia’s ‘Storytellers Nest’.
In May we present:Meet…Kevin Wright from Travel Oregon
In a world of always-on content, information overload and the ever-changing digital consumer, how do you stand out from the competition and most importantly, reach your audience? Kevin Wright, Vice President of Global Marketing for Travel Oregon will be joining us at #DTTTCampus in June to talk about Reflecting on the Role of Content to […]
In May we present:Meet…Gloria Loree from Destination Canada
We caught up with Gloria from Destination Canada ahead of #DTTTCampus to get a sneak peek into what we can expect from her talk on Designing Signature Experiences to Build Brand and Narrative.#brand experiences #destination canada #brand narrative #brand stories
In May we present:Meet…Daniel Bury VR Filmmaker
Daniel Bury is one of the youngest & most up and coming creators in the world of VR film-making, travelling the world to create immersive experiences through unique 360 and VR storytelling.#VR experiences #virtual reality experiences #daniel bury #filmmaker #dtttcampus #virtual reality #Vr
In May we present:5 Reasons Why to Visit #DTTTCampus 2019
In short, #DTTTCampus is a full exploration into the destination experience, with valuable insights on navigating the digital landscape and the ever-changing consumer behaviour of travellers today.#dttt campus #keynote speakers #workshops #destination experience #oslo #destination marketing #Visit Oslo