Faster London underground entry with new Apple pay update

2 December 2019, 08:46

Apple users can tap in or out with their iPhone or Apple watch
Apple users can tap in or out with their iPhone or Apple watch. Picture: Apple

By Sylvia DeLuca

Apple has enabled TfL users to tap in and out without having to use Face or Touch ID authentication, as one in five contactless journeys are made using a smart device.

Users will be able to tap in and out with an iPhone or Apple Watch, just as they would with a contactless bank card.

The tech giant is also giving the iPhone and Apple Watch the ability to tap out up to five hours after they have powered down, which should make users less concerned about losing battery mid-journey on TfL.

Using Face ID or Touch ID as authentication before tapping the reader sometimes creates hold-ups in busy underground stations as people activate their devices.

A notification is being sent out to users in the London area making them aware of the Express Transit mode feature, which will work on any iPhone from the 6S and SE onwards.

Tapping out when the battery has run out will only work from the iPhone XS or Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

Apple Pay’s Express Transit has reached London
Apple Pay’s Express Transit has reached London. Picture: Apple

The move comes as one in five contactless journeys across TfL is now made using a smart device.

"It is a step-change in the way we think about how to charge people, the notion of having to understand what ticket you need, do I need an Oyster Card," explained Mike Tuckett, head of transformation delivery for TfL.

"We're just trying to sweep that away and make it super simple."

Other transactions using Apple Pay will still need to be authenticated in the usual way, using Face ID or Touch ID before making a purchase.

It's the first time Express Transit has been enabled in the UK, after countries including China and Japan, as well as a trial in New York.

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