WRITTEN ON December 11th, 2007 BY Philippe AND STORED IN Across the Board

The forthcoming trial of the mobile phone Oyster could signal the emergence of m-commerce in the Public sector.

As UK citizens are becoming more accustomed to cash-less payment systems like “chip and pin” and combined Oyster and credit cards, the market for m-commerce may be ripe. From a public sector perspective, authorities and particularly local authorities may consider providing the mobile option for instance to pay for leisure centres, library books and videos; also payment for parking, car tax, council tax , congestion charge and so on.

In fact mobile phone payment could be taking a large share of the addressable market for smartcards and online payment services. One of the big advantages would be that it provides an electronic option for people, and there is a significant number, who do not have a computer but do have a mobile phone.

By the way, what’s going on with that mollusc?

· Oyster is contactless
· Oyster has gone e-purse
· Oyster is going mobile
· Oyster auto tops-up: Oyster cards are automatically topped-up whenever the balance falls below £5.
· Oyster iTunes: Auto top-up account will be given a one-off opportunity to download up to five free songs on iTunes
· Oyster eBay: TfL is said to be discussing with eBay to use Oyster cards as an alternative payment option
· Oyster Olympics: TfL is said to be discussing with the ODA the potential for using Oyster

I don’t quite know what direction TfL is taking but all this certainly demonstrates an unusual drive for innovation, for a PS organisation. One thing though, Oyster is not ITSO compliant. This could make it difficult to extend the use of the card to other parts of the country, and forget about using it overseas.

2 Responses to “Public Sector m-commerce”

William Heath wrote on December 11th, 2007 10:23 pm :

Yeahbut nobut yeahbut…

The smart pensioners at FIPR start to question whether ITSO-based bus passes for the elderly are ECHR or HRA compliant. How can one possibly justify the inclusion of all that personal data just to give elderly citizens their entitlement to free bus travel? Where’s the ITSO security/privacy policy? Who asked them what they wanted?

Look at what Dr John Welford is up to – see


Who wants a registered Oyster card linked to your credit card files when an unregistered one topped up with cash gives you the travel you want without the audit trail you’d rather not leave?

Because of Experian’s loathsome service-denial mechanisms (see rants elsewhere) I did weaken and fill out a form for one of those Barclay-Oyster-McCards (which also offers contactless payments as Philippe points out). But I’d only use the registered Oyster in an emergency, on principle, because I dont like to co-operate with any preventable and unnecessary aspect of the surveillance society. But I guess Experian’s monstrous discrimination engine will scupper that also (long story: exec summary is they’re extremely annoying and deserve to drown in paperwork and I’m a blameless victim deserving of beatification by acclamation, knighthood and a lifetime’s supply of reflexology at Experian’s expense).

Steve wrote on March 6th, 2008 10:22 pm :

This paying utilities by using our phone is somewhat a good idea. We will end up in a circle though, we pay the parking bills from our phone, we pay the phone from the ATM, the ATM gets the cash from our work places where we go to work to make more money to pay stuff using the phone.