Can contactless debit card journey history be tracked?

Discussion in 'Disputes & Prosecutions' started by Goonerfan987, 6 Nov 2019.

  1. Goonerfan987

    Goonerfan987 Member

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    i've been watching the fare dodgers program on channel 5 recently and it shows some scenes of the inspectors scanning people's oyster cards to see if they've tapped in or out at a bus or tube barrier, i was wondering can they still do this for a contactless debit card? As last time i used the tube you weren't able to see your journey history on the machines to check oyster balance the same way you can with an oyster. (Is that also still the case?)
     
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  3. richw

    richw Established Member

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    I can see mine on my online account, but think I had to register my card.
     
  4. gray1404

    gray1404 Established Member

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    Which programme is this?
     
  5. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    They don't know at the time of checking if you are tapped in or not.
     
  6. Goonerfan987

    Goonerfan987 Member

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    Specifically with a contactless card you mean? Isn't that a flaw in the system? Who's fault is that? TFL's?
     
  7. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Yes.
    Is it?
    Is it anyone's 'fault'?
    No.
     
  8. plugwash

    plugwash Member

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    The fundamental issue is that a transport system operator can't store any information on a contactless credit/debit card. This leaves an operator of a contactless PAYG system with basically two choices, neither of which are great.

    1. Build a system that is totally reliant on every reader having continuous real-time connection to the central infrastructure.
    2. Accept that it is not possible to verify journey status in real-time.

    TFL picked choice 2. IIRC if you present a non-touched in contactless card to a ticket checker you will get charged a maximum fare and if you do it too many times your card will get blacklisted, but all of this is only determined in after the fact processing.
     
  9. 87 027

    87 027 Member

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    Certainly tapping in on a bus with my contactless registers on my online account a few minutes later and I believe an inspector can also obtain a printout from the driver’s machine of tapped in contactless cards. I think the readers just show on the spot whether or not a contactless card is blacklisted, and when the back office assembles all the transactions at the end of the day, if a card was not in a tapped in state when inspected then a maximum fare is applied. Too many maximum fares (3) and the card is then blacklisted.
     
  10. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Correct for trains. On buses the reader downloads the list of cards touched in during that journey so they can take identical action with both Oyster and contactless cards.
     
  11. ianBR

    ianBR Member

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    How can the bus reader store any card details - surely this would break PCI regulations? Or is it just the last 4 digits?

    Overall this whole process means people using oyster on trains are the ones who are going to be fined and/or prosecuted and frankly everyone should use contactless to avoid issues when tapping in/out doesn’t work properly.
     
  12. plugwash

    plugwash Member

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    PCI does not forbid storing card details (other than the cvv), it just demands you take security measures if you do. Exactly what information they use to match the cards use to touch in on the bus with the cards presented to a ticket inspector is probablly not something they would want to discuss publically.

    When a card is scanned the readers must obviously obtain enough information to charge the card and retain that information at least until it can be passed to the backend systems.
     
  13. MikeWh

    MikeWh Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    It doesn't. It stores a tokenised version of the whole card number. The RPIs reader tokenises the card number and compares with the list of tokenised numbers from the bus computer.
     
  14. Nosirrom

    Nosirrom New Member

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    having watched the programme, I think the question being alluded to is can they track someone the same way they can on an oyster. In the programme they had a huge report of journey patterns on oyster uses where someone wasnt tapping out and then using buses outside of their travel card zone and of course the RPIs cross checked cctv to get a sense of who the we’re looking for. Could the same be done with a debit card ?
     
  15. swt_passenger

    swt_passenger Veteran Member

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    The problem with travel “outside of zones” doesn’t apply to contactless, they’re PAYG only. But they can look at regular or repeated failure to touch in or out with contactless, and apparently from previous discussions that fairly quickly leads to a card being blacklisted.
     
  16. Belperpete

    Belperpete Member

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    All the instances I can recall involved someone loading something like a zones 1&2 travelcard season onto their Oystercard, using the Oystercard to tap-in, but not tapping out when they exit in say zone 4 or 5. As swt-passenger says, contactless is PAYG only (i.e. you can't load a travelcard season onto a contactless card), so you inherently can't do this kind of scam with contactless.
     
  17. Surreytraveller

    Surreytraveller Established Member

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    I thought journey history was only stored for eight weeks, or does the system store data from suspicious Oystercards for longer?
     
  18. Cbob

    Cbob Member

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    Although contactless can facilitate certain oyster scams because the person can present any contactless card to an inspector's reader instead. The worst that will happen is a maximum fare and for the scammer to remember to present a different card next time.
     

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