So, have we all got used to the baffling suite of new rules for Oyster Cards yet? Oh dear, that's too bad. Because there's a whole fresh set of possibilities on the way, via a fantastic bit of plastic that lets you pay Oyster fares AND buy small items.
Sandra Alzetta of Visa tries to explain:
"This is Europe's first multi-function contactless card, leveraging Visa's investment in chip technology and will help realise our wider strategy of encouraging card usage for low value payments."
Trans-fucking-lation: "It's a Visa and Oyster card in one. It's ideal for buying cheap stuff, and is the first of its kind in Europe."
Gah! Why are financial folk ALWAYS leveraging things? Why?
The cards should be available from next summer - just four years after the Chinese got them. What Londonist wants to see, though, is this taking off into an art form. Instead of a card, why not embed the chips into other objects, such as jewellery or personalised figurines. Maybe the tourist version could be shaped like a royal guard or a beefeater. Endless possibilities. At least until about 2010, when we all start implanting them in our fingers.