October 17, 2018

Did you 'double dip' on your way to work today?

Wallet with Oyster card

Double dipping is costing commuters over £3.4 million per year, according to the latest research from Commuter Club, the commuting subscription service. The problem, which is also known as card clash, occurs when travelers get charged on the wrong card when they tap in or out of the contactless ticket barrier. The most frequent cause is where commuters use their entire purse or wallet to tap in and out, a habit adopted by one in six commuters. This means the machine can often inadvertently read more than one card if it’s contactless. There are currently 92 million contactless cards in use and almost all new debit and credit cards are contactless. Tapping a purse or wallet on the barrier is like playing contactless roulette.

As a result, commuters could be charged on one card tapping in and another tapping out and pay the maximum fare on both which could total £22.70. According to the research, 21% of commuters that use contactless and Oyster know they have fallen victim to this since contactless was made available on London Underground in 2014. Whilst you can claim money back from Transport for London (TfL) for incorrect payments, more than half (61%) of those affected by card clash said they’d never got around to doing so. This means there could be around £2 million sat unclaimed each year. In fact, 31% of all surveyed have never checked to see if they had been overcharged, which could mean people are completely unaware it has happened. 

Commuters don’t use protection

Commuters can prevent contactless devices from taking money from cards they don’t want them to by using protective RFID covers to block the contactless signals. Sadly more than one in ten commuters claimed to be unaware of this simple measure. 

If you are a ‘regular commuter’ much cheaper options exist

If you are a regular commuter – commuting for four days a week or more, or 40+ weeks a year - season tickets or commuting subscriptions are better value for money. As an example, if you commute through Zones 1-6, you’ll save a massive £608 a year by using an annual ticket purchased through Commuter Club.

Steve Dukes, CEO at Commuter Club comments: “Whilst double dipping can be a costly one-off mistake for commuters, the convenience of contactless travel could be far more expensive. Many commuters use contactless believing the weekly price caps will protect them from overspending. However, for regular commuters contactless is often the wrong choice, with alternative payment options saving commuters hundreds of pounds a year. Our customers that switched from contactless often make the biggest savings. We’re here to help commuters find the right option for them.”

How does Commuter Club work?

For those looking to lower the cost of their commute and avoid regular queuing at ticket machines, Commuter Club lets people lock in 2018 fares for 12 months whilst paying a regular monthly payment. Commuters signing up to the service get to save vs. paying monthly, weekly or via contactless. 


If you are caught out by double dipping, simply contact TfL on 0343-2221234 at least 48 hours after it happens. You have up to eight weeks from the date of your journey to make a claim.