is an oyster auto-topup definite

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34D

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Hello,

I was in London yesterday and today (two bus journeys on each day). On my last journey, I was surprised to see that an auto-topup had been undertaken, as my PAYG showed £20 higher than expected on the screen of the last bus.

I say surprised as the card used for the auto-topup has long since been deactivated/expired/maxed out (quite possibly all three). Can I therefore expect this auto-topup to reverse itself and my oyster account fall into a negative balance, or is it likely that the transaction was in fact successful?
 
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More then likely it was successfull Id say.

Isnt the Auto-Top up akin to a direct debit set up on the account number rather then the card number
 

MarkyMarkD

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If it's a credit card, it's presumably a continuous payment authority which continues irrespective of any of the reasons you mentioned. They will charge your account and if it's already maxed out, you'll be in limit excess territory.
 

John @ home

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If the payment fails, I would expect one of Oyster's autoresponse emails telling the cardholder that, and asking them to make the payment by other means.
 

island

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The payment is not processed in real-time; it is assumed that your payment will succeed. When the bus gets back to the depot and downloads its Oyster transactions, your card will be debited. If the transaction declines, you will get an angry email telling you to make the payment by other means within 5 working days (or thereabouts), otherwise your Oyster card will be hotlisted and will stop working.
 

MikeWh

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Hello,

I was in London yesterday and today (two bus journeys on each day). On my last journey, I was surprised to see that an auto-topup had been undertaken, as my PAYG showed £20 higher than expected on the screen of the last bus.

I say surprised as the card used for the auto-topup has long since been deactivated/expired/maxed out (quite possibly all three). Can I therefore expect this auto-topup to reverse itself and my oyster account fall into a negative balance, or is it likely that the transaction was in fact successful?
As Island says, the auto top-up is assumed to be successful. It happens as part of the very time critical touching process which only transacts between the card, reader and station server. The details are transmitted back to the central database overnight and the charge is usually made the next day. If the card used has expired then you should have received emails from Oyster around a month before reminding you to update the details. If it is maxed out then you'll suffer charges from your card issuer because the payment will still go through. Only if the card has truly been deactivated, or you failed to update the expiry date, will it fail, and then you will get an urgent email threatening hot-listing.

Bear in mind that the auto top-up is triggered when the balance before touch-in is below £8, so the least you will have on your card now is £6.60. You won't actually owe TfL anything until that original balance is exhausted, so if they do hot-list it you should still be able to reclaim what was left plus the deposit. It'll be far less hassle to sort out the payment though.
 

34D

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You won't actually owe TfL anything until that original balance is exhausted, so if they do hot-list it you should still be able to reclaim what was left plus the deposit. It'll be far less hassle to sort out the payment though.
Indeed, I shall check oyster and credit card websites tomorrow.

Thanks all
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Indeed, I shall check oyster and credit card websites tomorrow.

Thanks all
Nothing last week.

Today however, I had a telephone call with voicemail from the Oyster people, and the following email was sent to me:

oyster email dated today 20th March said:
Date 20.03.2012

Dear Mr 34D

I am contacting you again about the outstanding payment on your Auto top-up instruction.

As you may be aware, your Oyster card was successfully credited with £20 on 13 March. We’ve recently tried to obtain this payment from your specified credit/debit card, but the transaction was not successful.

You will now need to pay this amount manually by midday on 21 March, in order to prevent your Oyster card from being cancelled.

Here are some instructions on how to pay or resettle online:

• Sign in to your Oyster Online account
• Select the appropriate Oyster card number, if you have more than one Oyster card registered to your account. If not, go to the next step
• Click on the link, ‘Manage Auto top-up’
• Click on the ‘Resettle’ button
• Enter your details on the payment screen
• Click ‘Make payment’

Important information: If you want to pay with a different credit/debit card than the one you normally use to pay for your Auto top-up instructions, please take note of the following:

• Your address details on your Oyster Online account must match the address that your credit/debit card is registered to.
• Only the payment for the outstanding amount will be settled using the new credit/debit card. All future Auto top-ups will continue to be taken from the original registered credit/debit card.
• If you wish to continue using your new credit/debit card for all future Auto top-ups, just tick the box that says, ‘Tick this box to charge all future Auto top-up transactions to this payment card’ while making the payment. Alternatively, you can select ‘Update payment card’

You cannot pay this amount by adding further top-ups to your Oyster card - whether at stations, Oyster Ticket Stops or online - as Auto top-up payments are separate transactions.

If you are unable to make this payment for any reason or have difficulties in doing so, please contact us as soon as possible on 0845 330 9876, quoting your Oyster card number or the reference number from the top of this email.

The quickest way to get through to us is to choose option 5 for Auto top-up and then option 2 to speak with an agent. Lines are open 08:00 to 20:00 daily.

If further Auto top-up transactions have been incurred before the cancellation of your Oyster card, you will be liable for all outstanding amounts.

Please do not disclose your bank (credit or debit card) details in your written correspondence to us.

Kind regards



Loel White
Oyster Customer Services
Now this is the first correspondence that I have received on the issue. I can scarcely believe I am being given until midday tomorrow to make a payment - AND NOTE THAT MY OYSTER CARD DOESN'T _NEED_ THIS £20 PAYMENT MAKING, AS WITHOUT IT THE BALANCE WILL STILL BE AROUND SIX POUNDS.

Can they really cancel my oyster card just like this?
 

island

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Yes, that's how it works. They cannot manually debit the money back off your Oyster card because the system is asynchronous.
 

John @ home

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Can they really cancel my oyster card just like this?
The Failed payments section of Auto top-up terms and conditions gives Transport Trading Limited the right to cancel your Oyster card if you do not correct the failed payment within two days.
Transport for London said:
Failed payments

If your financial institution rejects a payment requested on the basis of your Recurring Payment Authority, TTL will send you an email (if an email address has been provided) and an agent of TTL will also attempt to contact you. If you do not correct the failed payment within two days TTL reserves the right to cancel your Oyster card which will disable its future use and cancel any Recurring Payment Authority associated with that Oyster card. If that occurs, you will need to arrange a new Oyster card. To get a new Oyster card, please visit any Tube Station ticket office or Oyster ticket stop. Alternatively you can order online at www.tfl.gov.uk/oyster, or contact telephone sales via the Oyster helpline 0845 330 9876.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/termsandconditions/901.aspx
The conditions are silent about how to recover any credit remaining on the cancelled card.
 

MikeWh

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Now this is the first correspondence that I have received on the issue. I can scarcely believe I am being given until midday tomorrow to make a payment - AND NOTE THAT MY OYSTER CARD DOESN'T _NEED_ THIS £20 PAYMENT MAKING, AS WITHOUT IT THE BALANCE WILL STILL BE AROUND SIX POUNDS.

Can they really cancel my oyster card just like this?
Yes. As island says, they have no way of charging back the auto topup. Your card thinks it has £20 more than it has and if they do nothing you could use that balance for travel. The only thing they can do is blacklist the card, which will cancel it the next time you touch on any Oyster reader. You will still be able to get your real balance plus deposit back, but it will be a hassle. They can't afford to let you carry on using a card with an inflated balance.

Auto topup works on trust. If that trust is broken they are entitled to take action to protect their revenue. I'm quite sure that when you sign up for auto topup there is small print explaining that you must always keep the account details accurate and current. However, they realise that things do sometimes go wrong outside of your control. They will have had to wait for the request to your bank to fail. This is probably done via BACS and so takes ages. They are now giving you an option to sort it out online and that will be the end of the matter.

It may seem heavy handed, but you have to see that they could lose a lot of money if repeated auto topups fail and the balance is used quickly. Obviously in your case you have not actually exceeded your credit, but your case is probably not the norm. Log on today (as it's now past midnight) and give them alternative details and all will be well again.
 
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