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Could mobile payments be a ticket to easier travel?

Most of us will be familiar with the feeling: jumping on a bus or train, only to realise that you don’t actually have enough cash on you to afford the ticket.

Not only could this slip-up delay the already-hectic rush hour commute, but you could also put yourself at risk of a fine if there’s no way you can pay for the ticket.

However, as a result of the latest developments in mobile phone technology, hiccups like this could soon become a thing of the past.

The Telegraph reports that Government ministers are going ahead with plans that would allow people using public transport across the country to buy a ticket using their mobile phone, as long as their handset allows them to access their bank account.

As a result, commuters would be able to store their ticket on their mobile phone – and thus help them avoid any embarrassing situations when paying.

So, as we move towards an increasingly ‘cashless’ society, how could mobile payments get us on the road to paying on the go?

Pay & travel: how mobile payments could speed things up
Technology is moving at an ever-faster rate, and when it comes to making payments on the go, mobile phone technology seems to provide a clear route to speed, convenience and reliability.

Depending on the train company used, commuters could soon be able to use their NFC (Near Field Communication)-compatible smartphone to scan their ticket on a ‘contactless’ reader – similar to how an Oyster Card already works on the London Underground. Alternatively, travellers on trains and buses could print their tickets at home.

Norman Baker, local transport minister, said: “I want to see passengers able to use one card to pay for a tube journey in London, a bus trip in Bristol and a ride on the Metro in Newcastle.”

Smart ticketing
It is hoped that ‘smart ticketing’ – including print-at-home tickets, smart cards, smartphone technology and barcodes – could offer more flexibility for travellers and make commuting more convenient.

A spokesman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: “We are working with the Department for Transport on a £45 million scheme to roll out smart ticketing across the south east. Train companies are always looking to improve services and the industry is actively looking at how flexible ticketing can be used to benefit passengers.”

Although smart ticketing is yet to become widespread, it’s likely that mobile payments will spread as train companies realise their popularity – and their cost-saving potential – and eventually all train companies will be expected to follow the ITSO (Integrated Transport Smartcard Organisation) industry standard for payments.

With all this in mind, it seems clear that smart ticketing is one direction we could all soon be travelling in.

This article was provided by think money, which prides itself on offering tips & advice to help people make the most of their money.