GPay: White is the new Yellow

If you’ve used Kings Cross St Pancras Underground station in the last 3 months you may have noticed that the yellow Oyster pads on the gatelines were changed to a white pad with Google GPay branding.  This was in fact a trial scheme in advance of a year long sponsorship deal.

Later this month over 5600 pads on gates at every Underground station will be changed to the new design (see below).  They will remain white for 12 months and Google has an option to extend the deal subject to agreeing follow on terms.  The sponsorship deal is worth around £1.5m which TfL will reinvest in London’s transport network.

Both parties want to use the scheme to increase usage of contactless payment methods, especially using GPay.  A Transport for London spokesperson said:

Following discussions with a number of mobile payment providers, we have recently agreed a commercial partnership with Google to help promote contactless payments on the readers at gatelines on London Underground. The partnership follows a successful trial of the proposed design at King’s Cross Tube station late last year.

Oyster Reader with GPay brandingThe design of the pad is on the left.  You’ll notice that GPay is the dominant logo with the standard contactless logo below.  Next are the logos of the popular payment card schemes (American Express, Maestro, Mastercard and Visa) and a small Oyster logo is included to reassure people that Oyster and zip cards are still accepted.  The white circular background is finished off with a small yellow border giving a hint of the previous look of the pad.  The indicator light will operate exactly as it currently does, along with the audible beeps.

These pads will be fitted to all gates at Underground stations across the network.  They will not be fitted to National Rail gates or validators, or on the DLR.  The pink route validators will also retain their current pads as will the yellow pads on ticket machines, buses and trams.

8 thoughts on “GPay: White is the new Yellow”

  1. (unrelated to this article)

    There are certain journeys for which there are different routes available, but where there is no defined ‘via’ (OSI or pink reader) point in the Oyster fare finder (either the TfL one, or LTFares, or this website) for the non-default route. However it isn’t entirely clear to me how I ensure that I am charged the non-default fare.

    I’ve come across many examples previously, but a (not particularly great) one I quickly came up with just now is Bexley to East Croydon. The default route assumes travel via Zone 1 (London Bridge presumably). The alternative non-default route via New Cross and New Cross Gate doesn’t say what the qualifying touches are.

    Is it to be taken as assumed that you must do an OSI between those two stations? Is there anywhere that shows what OSIs are required in the same way as pink reader touch requirements are shown?

    If you hold a (non Zone 1) Travelcard on an Oyster card, how do you ensure you’re not charged in these circumstances? Does the system simply look at the journey you’re making, and price it as if it were a PAYG journey, but charge £0 for non-Zone 1 routes? What would you be charged if the system thought you went via the default route (via Zone 1)?

    Sorry if that’s a bit unclear. It’s quite a complex subject…

    • Hi Joe,

      Where the fare finders describe a route as being via stations then you must go via those stations to get the fare. It doesn’t repeat the instruction in the way it does for pink validators because it assumes that you will have to touch out and back in again so there will be no question that you’ve taken the route. You obviously can ignore the pink readers which is why it specifically says you must touch them. If a pair of stations is mentioned then you can assume that there is an OSI between them.

      In the main the system works in the same way with or without a travelcard; if you follow a described route that doesn’t use zone 1 then you won’t be charged for zone 1. There were some routes where partial travelcard holders would be charged differently, but these have been withdrawn over the last few years.

  2. I presume that the purpose of these white card readers is merely to publicise this sponsorship deal and the fact that you can use Google Pay and it doesn’t make any difference whether the card readers are white or yellow in terms of what methods of payment are accepted?

    Publicising this sponsorship deal and the ability to use Google Pay is certainly a good idea, but I suppose having white readers at some stations and yellow ones at others could potentially confuse passengers.

    • Hi Alan,

      Yes, acceptance is exactly the same everywhere (apart from the contactless only rail stations of course). I agree that it could be confusing, but I gather there was very little negative feedback after the trial at Kings Cross St Pancras.

  3. Hi,

    I noticed yesterday that Farringdon has had the platform validators on the tube lines rebranded with the new sponsorship.

    I wonder if this will cause issues of people mistaking these for interchange validation readers. I know pink readers will remain pink, and it’s clearly Zone 1, but I certainly did a double take when I saw them: the consequences of someone making a mistake could be quite expensive for the passenger!

  4. Hi,

    A further report: Willesden Junction (LO station concourse) where at least one pink reader have been given this branding – including the yellow border. I haven’t seen this anywhere else so assume it must be intentional.

    Quite concerning, I expect Maximum Fares have been issued by people who thought they had ended their Oyster journey for onward paper ticket rail travel.


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