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London Tube Payment w/US phone

We didn't crack this nut on our trip but learned that using electronic pay like Apple Pay or AmEx pay by phone is a challenge on Tube. Apple Pay uses a US debit card (not credit card) which isn't often recognized by Tube payment system. And AmEx not accepted. If you like the convenience of holding your phone up to the gate, set up a Visa for payment. Or just go buy an Oyster card from the machine -- contrary to what we read elsewhere, it's still possible to buy them there.

Posted by
1816 posts

I think you might be confusing Apple Cash with Apple Pay. Apple Cash most certainly will NOT work at Transit turnstiles while Apple Pay (which urilizes both DCs and CCs) will or should work. Remember if you Tap IN, you need to Tap OUT.

Posted by
6547 posts

The other thing missed besides tapping in and out, it that you must use not only the same payment card on the device, but the same device. So if you have 3 cards loaded, make sure the same card is up, and if you have the physical card, plus the phone, plus a watch, using the same device (tap in with the watch, tap out with the watch...tapping out with the phone is not the same, even though it may be the same payment method)

Posted by
1816 posts

Highly unlikely that a person will change their default card on their phone or watch between entering and exiting the Tube. And if you Toggle ON Express Transit Card in Settings you don't even have to engage TouchID or FaceID, just hold the device over the yellow pad and off you go.

Posted by
1618 posts

TFL seems to support Amex, Visa and Mastercard. I believe I used a contactless Amex about three years ago. Worked fine

https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/how-to-pay-and-where-to-buy-tickets-and-oyster/pay-as-you-go/contactless-and-mobile-pay-as-you-go

If you set up Apple transit express you don’t even have to unlock your phone. Just tap and go like an Oyster card. I used it back in May this year. Worked fine and daily cap applied correctly too.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212171

Posted by
300 posts

I was just in London last month and my Apple Pay (I use my watch) worked just fine. My default card is an AMEX and, as other posters noted, I turned on Express Transit. Works like a charm.

Posted by
30291 posts

Apple Pay with (UK) AMEX the default certainly works

Posted by
478 posts

Periscope, thanks so much for the info on the transit express setting in Apple Pay! I was not aware of that. Will try it on the Rome metro this fall.

Posted by
11 posts

It was my understanding that Apple Cash used Apply Pay as the e-payment mechanism, same as visa or AmEx. Regardless, we were unable to use either for Tube. Even using the Express Transit feature. We did use same phone in/out.

Best advice I'd say is if using this from US in London, have a plan B at the gate so your party isn't on opposite sides.

Posted by
1618 posts

Sorry to hear that you had difficulty using Apple Pay. As some of us indicated it can be easy to use. Perhaps troubleshoot the issue prior to your next trip. As a backup I always have a contactless credit card with me.