31 October 2022
Travellers warned about touching in with mobile phones and out with a smartwatch on TfL stations.
Transport for London customers are being warned about using their mobile phone or another smart device connected to their bank account, as a system loophole is charging some of them, twice.
Using a smartphone or another smart device saves on the need to buy paper tickets or delve into a wallet for a debit or Oyster card, but recently it has been highlighted that some customers who touch in with a mobile phone and out with a smartwatch at a TfL station may be charged the maximum ticket fare, twice. The bugbear can affect passengers riding the tube, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line and even Thames Clipper boat services.
The double charge occurs because while the same bank account is usually registered to the smart phone or watch, they carry separate unique device codes (or Permanent Account Numbers). Therefore, the ticket readers think that two separate journeys are ‘incomplete’ as the person using their mobile phone didn't touch out while the person with the smartwatch seemingly did not touch in to start their journey.
Joanna Davidson, CEO for London TravelWatch said, “We’d like TfL to work with the issuing banks to see if this issue can be resolved in the interests of hard-pressed passengers where every penny really does count right now. We don’t think it should matter if the devices being used are different, only that the same registered bank account is paying for the journey.
"We know that once someone works out they have been charged twice due to a ‘mixed-device payment’ issue, requesting a refund is relatively straightforward. But it is not immediately obvious that a double charge has taken place as the ticket gates still open as normal.”
To avoid unnecessary charges, Transport for London encourages passengers to always touch in and out using the same device.
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