TfL has launched its own official smartphone app, for checking Oyster card balances.

The new app enables iPhone and Android smartphone owners to use their phone to add pay as you go credit or Travelcards to their Oyster card. The credit is then available 30 minutes later when the Oyster card is tapped onto a ticket gate reader.

The development of the mobile top-up app was in part driven by a report into the effect of the closures of ticket offices, and the reduction in alternative payment options.

Later this year, customers will be able to collect their top up by touching their Oyster card on the yellow card readers on any of London’s 9,000 buses.

The app also enables customers to view the last eight weeks of their journey history, check how much pay as you go credit they have on their Oyster card and provides, for the first time, a ‘low balance’ alert direct to their phone to help ensure they have enough pay as you go credit before they travel.

TfL has plans for additional functionality later, such as the ability to apply for refunds for incomplete journeys.

Any customers with a first-generation Oyster card, which were predominantly issued prior to 2010, will need to upgrade their Oyster card to one which has a “D” in the bottom left hand corner on the back of the card in order to use the app.

In related news, TfL also confirmed that when the Elizabeth line opens next December, it will support Pay as you Go payments across the line out to Reading.


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  1. Frankie Roberto says:

    The next stage is having Monday-Sunday capping with Oyster (at which point, I wonder if the existing 7 day travelcard for Oyster, which is the same price but needs to be bought in advance and can start any day or the week, will be withdrawn?).

    Then at some point the hopper fare might get replaced by the 1 hour free bus interchange.

    Contactless on the Elizabeth line presumably implies that the same will also be available on GWR services from Reading to Paddington, and that the fares will be the same?

    One big outstanding question is whether Elizabeth line services to Heathrow will be priced at a premium or the standard zonal rate?

  2. Luke says:

    Surprised to note that my most recent 18+ student oyster card (issued 2016, now expired) also counts as an ‘old-style’ card and thus won’t work with the app. However, it does work with TfL’s new (or is it not that new?) website ability to apparently deliver the same functionality – that is, top-ups live within 30 minutes to any station (where previously you had to do before 11pm for the next day and nominate a single station for pickup?)

  3. David Roberts says:

    What is not clear to me is what physical functionality is not already in the 1st generation card that is needed for it to work with the app.

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