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Transport for London: paying by credit/debit in taxis

Transport for London (TfL) are seeking views on whether passengers should be able to pay by debit or credit card in all licensed taxis (black cabs) in London.

We believe there is a clear customer benefit to the introduction of card payments across not only black cabs, but all taxis in London.

  • Credit and debit card use is increasing in all retail environments across the UK, with a 12% increase in card payment transactions and 8% increase in value in 20141. This is consistent with the customer research cited in the consultation that 83% of customers would like to be able to pay by card, for ease, convenience and safety reasons.
  • There are also some benefits of card payment acceptance over the current app-based acceptance for taxi drivers. While app-based acceptance may have lower capital cost, card payment acceptance can provide drivers protection from liability in the case of fraud, and chargeback claims.
  • The introduction of card payments, including contactless payments, fits with the wider TfL strategy of allowing card payments at ticket machines, and more recently the rollout of contactless payments across tube, DLR, overground and bus. This would allow a consistent customer experience across London, and would be of particular benefit to visitors, who may not be carrying cash.
  • There are card payment devices that are particularly suited to the cab environment, such as the shuttle device, which is connected for transaction purposes through the driver’s mobile phone. This particular device does not need to be fixed to the cab, but can sit in a cradle, protecting it from damage and allowing easy removal from the cab. The shuttle device can also be linked to a screen which can show advertising (bringing in a potential additional revenue stream) and can also display the final journey fare.
  • The Payment Services Directive 2 will ban surcharging on regulated debit and credit cards from 2017; while the Interchange Fee Regulation will cap some of the fees paid by taxi drivers on regulated cards. These regulations should be factored into any discussions on surcharging and general fares.
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