A deal has been closed up between credit card companies and Transport for London that allows customers to pay with plastic credit cards. This means bitcoin plastic cards can now be used to pay for a taxi.
At the moment only about half of the cabs (approximately 23,000) are equipped to take card payments, while a recent survey suggests 83% of passengers would prefer to pay with plastic. London's black cabs have been reluctant to adopt new payment methods due to high setup costs and running fees. Transport for London has been closely looking into reducing card transaction fees since summer 2015.
On Thursday 26 November the Mayor of London and the TfL confirmed that they intend to make plastic acceptance compulsory for all taxi drivers, starting from October 2016. To facilitate the process for drivers, they agreed with card companies that payment processing fees will be reduced to 3% or less for cab drivers. In the past it used to be 10% of the amount paid. The new fares still need to be approved by the Transport for London Board in February 2016. Following that, the new fees will come in force in April 2016, and paying with plastic cards will become available in all taxis starting from October.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s general manager of Taxi and private hire, said: “Card payments have become a central part of the lives of Londoners over the past few years, something that has only increased since the introduction of contactless payment.”
For bitcoin users the new option means that they will be able to pay with a bitcoin plastic card in any London taxi. Recently bitcoin Visa card has been introduced by Shift and Coinbase, which allows to pay in bitcoin via Coinbase at any place where Visa plastic cards are accepted, both online and offline. However, the international transactions on the new bitcoin card are charged with additional 3% fees.