Unable to renew Oyster annual travelcard – options?

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  • This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 2 weeks ago by Mike.
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    My annual z1 and 2 travelcard on Oyster expires in a couple of days and unfortunately I can’t renew online as my credit card details are not being recognised. I tried to renew by phone but payment was again declined (by TfL systems rather than my card issuer Mastercard Barclaycard). Apparently this is a known issue since the end of September for some Mastercards but there is no timescale for a fix (according to the helpful TfL customer service lady). My credit card otherwise works for all other payments including online and topping up PAYG at a machine.

    FWIW, the exact error message that only displays after five attempts is “Payment transaction error. Message received is Payment processor error (65) barclays2 returned [SCA REQUIRED]”

    As I wish to use this credit card to pay for its reward benefits, I seem to have three options, but if I am missing any please do add to this list:
    1. I attend a TfL Visitor Centre to renew in person, hoping that gets round the glitch (TfL CS lady was unsure if this would work)
    2. I get a different smart card – being in SE London the Key would be the obvious choice, but unsure of any disadvantages compared to Oyster? Eg. Is PAYG beyond Z1 and 2 supported? I also assume Oyster products can only be purchased from TfL.
    3. I buy a monthly Z1 and 2 season for now via a TVM, and hope the issue is resolved in time to be able to revert to an Annual.

    Overall it’s frustrating not to be able to renew online, and a reminder that modern tech doesn’t always work! A pity PayPal is not offered as a payment method.

    Mike (admin)

    Hi JG,

    Yes, modern tech often has rules with unintended consequences. The wording of that error message suggests that it has come from the banking system, rather than TfL taking decisions unilaterally. This doesn’t help you though. SCA is secure customer authentication which is applied in cases where the card is not present when processing the transaction.

    So, looking at your options:

    1) As you’d be using the card in person I’d hope that it should work.
    2) TOC smartcards will not handle extension fares. Either they have a travelcard loaded which operates the gates within the appropriate zones, or they have a PAYG facility which is limited to their own services.
    3) This would work, but you’d lose the gold card benefits in the interim.

    I can’t think of any other options right now.


    Thanks Mike. From my conversation with TfL it seems the glitch lies with their payment provider. At least I’ve encountered nothing similar before – I used an older version of this card last year to buy my current travelcard, so perhaps there was some tweak in the SCA since then.

    I’ll try to renew at a Visitor Centre on Wednesday and report back – thank goodness they still exist!

    And thanks for the advice on TOC smartcards – I’ve also found the FAQ page on the Key which mentions in passing that travelcards on it must be issued from outside the zones, which must exclude a large number of Southeastern passengers. I guess it protects the integrity of Oyster but this mess of rival smartcards just perpetuates needless complexities…


    Good news! I was finally able to renew online just now with no error messages and the usual security checks working perfectly.

    I don’t know if using my home WiFi rather than the hotel WiFi I was on the last few days made the difference. Given my attempt to renew by phone a few days ago also didn’t work, I suspect not. Most likely the glitch has been resolved by the payment provider. I still have to load the renewal to my Oyster but hopefully there will be no further issues!


    Thanks for the update, JG. I think it is very likely that the payment provider has fixed it.

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