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Plastic fantastic! London taxis embrace rise in cashless payments

With the rise of contactless credit cards and alternative payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, we are increasingly moving towards a cashless society. 

According to banking trade body UK Finance, debit card payments have now overtaken cash use for the first time. A total of 13.2 billion debit card payments were made last year, a rise of 14 per cent on the previous year. Meanwhile, the frequency of contactless payments almost doubled in a year to 5.6 billion last year. This was most commonly in supermarkets, but card suppliers say that public transport and car parking have also become regular places for people to use contactless – in London more than half of all pay as you go travel on the TfL network is now made using contactless.

This growth in card use is why the TfL Board agreed that taxi passengers should be able to pay by card, including contactless, back in 2016. From 31 October 2016, all licensed taxi drivers have been required to accept credit and debit card payments.

The easy way to pay

Lee Sheppard is the director of London Taxi PR, set up to promote the trade in the Capital, and states: ‘The advent and move to a more cashless society can only be good for the licensed trade. Paying by card allows us to be a more efficient and appealing service, whether it is for the frequent business user, the short hop journeyer or the user in an emergency when no cash is available. Being able to hail, tap and pay by card provides our customers with peace of mind and an ease-of-use service.

‘The London taxi trade has always been seen as innovators of technology and by continuing to evolve and provide our customers with the fullest of payment options, we are demonstrating we recognise that without these alternatives, we as a service and trade will not survive.’

Every taxi driver must accept card and contactless payments and provide printed receipts for those payments if asked to by the customer. All taxis must have a fully working TfL-approved fixed card payment device fitted in the passenger compartment. Taxis not meeting this requirement are issued with an unfit notice, which remains in place until the credit card reader has been fitted or repaired and the vehicle is presented for inspection. 

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