Apple Pay and Zip Card

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    Chris Hein

    It seems my daughter had a bit of an issue with her phone and her 11-15 zip card.
    She had the Zip card in the back of her phone case but somehow instead of the oyster reader on the bus seeing the zip card it’s charged her 10p on her phone instead.
    We are both a bit confused as she says she didn’t have the finger print thing on to pay with her phone anyway.
    Her bank account as expected has the customary 10p pending charge on it.

    She doesn’t have enough funds to pay for an unexpected £1.75 fare so what will happen when TfL attempt to take the fare that should have been free anyway?

    It makes me concerned as are phones exempt from verification for payment on TfL in some way?

    I don’t know how this works at all because I tried once to use my phone to buy something and ended up looking a right idiot as it wouldn’t work for me so I stuck with the old favourite stick the card in the reader routine!


    She probably has “Express Travel Card” enabled in the Wallet Settings, which enables payments on public transport without verification.


    Hi Chris,

    As Andyboy says, it is possible to use phones without requiring verification. Might be an idea to check that out.

    If the bank refuse to pay the charge then TfL will probably blacklist the device. If it’s not registered to a TfL account I’m not sure what then happens. It can probably be sorted out with a call to the helpdesk. They should cancel/refund the charge once it’s explained that it was supposed to be a zip card being read.

    I’m with you on not understanding how this all works. I did try it once on a bus, but I’m very wary of using systems that I don’t fully understand.

    Miles Thomas

    The unpalatable answer is don’t keep the zip card in the case of a phone that has NFC payment capability.

    Then such a confusion can’t happen.

    What would be nice is if TFL could issue a version of the Zip card that could be put into the NFC wallet capability of the phone. To do this they would probably need to issue the card as a “scheme” branded debit card that only works for TfL readers, and handle discounts at the “back end”.

    Same as the former Citymapper pass card, which was really a Mastercard debit card that “whitelisted” TfL for authorisation, and hence could be put in an NFC wallet.


    The problem with that approach is the need to have the card on you for inspection and photo verification. A mobile phone token couldn’t handle the photos and people would doubtlessly leave the cards at home and travel using their devices and thus run the risk of penalty fares etc for not carrying what they need to.

    Chris Hein

    Express Travel Card was indeed enabled on her phone.
    I’ve since turned it off

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