Topping up online/activating/making journey

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    Andy Coxhill

    Hi Mike,

    I’m an infrequent user of Oyster but I need to top up as I’m making a number of journeys tomorrow.
    When I do this, I’m told to “touch-in” within a set time or I’ll be refunded.
    When at the station, do I need to touch in twice, once to activate the top up, then again so start my journey?
    Also, I hope to link my Oyster with my new Senior Railcard at Balham before making that journey.


    Mike (admin)

    Hi Andy,

    You only need to touch in once. The set time is 3 days so you’ll have no problems if it’s tomorrow. And you’ll need Balham Underground station to link the railcard.

    Alan Yearsley

    Not sure whether this belongs in here or warrants a separate thread, but I have noticed that when I try to top up my Oyster card online via the TfL website, it deducts £2.40 credit from the amount by which I top up. This would appear to be a fixed amount regardless of how much you top up by, so for example if you ask to top up by £5 you only actually get £2.60 more on your card, £10 means you top up by £7.60, £20 means you get £17.60 and so on.

    Does this mean that TfL is charging you a £2.40 admin fee for the convenience of topping up online instead of having to queue up to top up at the machines at Underground stations (or at an Oyster Stop newsagent or convenience store)? That is the first I’ve heard of this, but I usually top up my Oyster card at a Tube or National Rail station ticket machine rather than online.


    Hi Alan,

    This is news to me.

    I’ve just tried to place a top up order on my Oyster card and nowhere did it mention any fees to be charged or deducted. I don’t want to actually do a top up because I rarely use the Oyster card these days.

    I also tried using the Oyster app and that seemed to confirm that the new PAYG balance would be increased by the amount of the top up.

    Can you explain in a bit more detail what you are seeing and when. Also, where are you picking up the order?


    Given that you can only top up an Oyster card from an online order as part of a journey, are you sure it isn’t simply the standard deduction for the ‘journey start’ being made? i.e. adding £5 and then taking the £2.40 from that as whatever the standard initial fare deduction from your local station is.

    As an additional question, are you actually taking a journey when you tap the card to top it up?

    • This reply was modified 8 months, 3 weeks ago by Feathers. Reason: More detail
    Jon Millwood

    Are you sure you don’t have a negative balance on the Oyster card?

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