TfL Contactless


Just spent a couple of days travelling around London using my Starling on the overground and the underground and I’ve got a couple of observations:

  1. The first time I tap in I saw a payment of 10p (this is the authorisation, I understand that bit). I got a notification for that, however I didn’t get a notification for the final charge early the following morning. I just noticed that the 10p changed to £4.80. It would be nice to get a notification to say the amount has changed.

  2. Friday’s TfL travel simply hasn’t appeared. No 10p authorisation, no nothing.


Friday’s will probably not appear until Monday from past experience (something to do with the odd way TfL works)


It could also be related to Missing Transactions.


TfL payment tracking and processing is just a big pile of spaghetti right now. They have gotten away with it for years as banks haven’t been real-time, but they’re coming to a point where they will have to reimagine their systems as more and more people can see how bad their processes are and how fragmented the information is.

It would be nice if one day in the future it could deep link with your bank via APIs and take out £1.50 when you tap in on the bus, then edit the transaction to take out or refund further increments that build up through your day, then the bank could choose to alert you that the last train cost £0 as you had already reached a travel card threshold, and maybe show you a map of your journey with details of each leg.

I think their main problem is they are running ‘end of day’ batches just like the incumbent banks, and so however they dress it up they are incompatible with fintech at this moment in time.

Not sure what Starling or any fintech can do about it on their end. I certainly wouldn’t want to be alerted to daily travel usage costs by my bank while I’m asleep.

Keep calm
Pray for APIs :smile:


Android Pay on my HSBC card would show at around 3am the following morning


Yes TFL can be a bit of a challenge at times. The 10p auths get send some days and not others - I can’t find any consistency to when TFL apply them to my own account. I guess they just do it every now and again based on a risk profile of the card - certainly seems more common the first time you use a card in a while.

We do generally send push notifications when a payment amount is changed - I often get them saying “Your payment to TFL has changed, the new amount is £5.80” or similar. The order of messages from TFL means the system doesn’t always manage to send them though, we are working on improving this further.

We’d love to actually be able to show the journeys you have made like the oyster online site. We’ve talked to TFL but this isn’t data they are willing to share / build an API for at the moment though :frowning:.

I can confirm that TFL only process final payments on week days though - on Monday’s we get a huge volume of transactions covering Friday and weekend travel. So your travel from Friday should pop up in the early hours of Monday morning (often around 3am).


Apparently, while I would expect the charge to appear Monday morning, in the worst case, travel on a Friday may not be charged until Tuesday morning! (Info from an employee at another bank)

Bank holidays also impact TfL batch processing, so in some instances travel Thursday afternoon/evening could potentially not be charged until the following week, if Friday is a bank holiday!


I’ve never gotten this one, but it is something I want to see


android pay are able to provide details of the journeys taken on TFL. could you get google to push this data to you?


There’s a thread on integration with TfL here… hopefully this is data they will be willing to share one day soon! :slight_smile: