London has replaced train tickets with contactless credit cards, and soon you could too

Transport for London has licensed its contactless payment system that allows you to board trains and buses with a swipe of a credit or debit card.

Richard Trenholm
Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Credit and debit cards can be swiped directly on the entrance barriers at London stations, so you don't need to buy a ticket.

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London's technology for swiping your credit card to board a train or bus could be coming to other cities. The British capital's transit authority Transport for London (TfL) has licensed its contactless technology to be used elsewhere, with the money earned earmarked for a fare freeze for London's commuters.

London's contactless ticketing system allows anyone with a contactless credit or debit card to swipe it on readers in stations and on buses, allowing you to travel without a ticket. At the end of each day, the system calculates how far you travelled and deducts the correct amount, applying a daily or weekly cap to your spending if you travel often enough. Mobile devices that do contactless can also be used to jump on a bus or train or the London underground.

TfL and infrastructure company Cubic worked together to introduce the Oyster swipe card in 2003, allowing commuters to store season tickets or pay-as-you-go credit on a single card. The same system of card readers then added contactless payment from 2012. Cubic will now take the contactless technology to other countries.

Newly elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the deal as the first to market TfL's expertise around the globe. The income from this deal -- said by TfL to be worth £15 million -- and future deals will be invested in London's transit system. The money will also go towards a fare freeze promised by Khan in his election manifesto.