Contactless with TfL


I’ve been using my Monzo card for more than a month now, including while travelling on the tube and on buses. Not sure whether it’s just my card or not, but I’m experiencing a delay when tapping in and out. It typically goes something like this:

Oyster card - 0.5 seconds
Other contactless (Barclays, in my case) - 1 to 1.5 seconds
Monzon prepaid card - 2.5 to 3 seconds

I’m not sure if this is happening because the card is a prepaid one currently and it’s generally not a big deal, but sometimes it can get annoying in peak commuting times.

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Personally I haven’t noticed this but I haven’t done the comparison that you have either :timer:

Either way, the cards will be changing (to debit cards) once the bank launches within the next 6 months & the quality of the cards might improve then too so hopefully that will stop the delay.

I have noticed this and done timing comparisons between different payment methods and card types.

The short answer is that Oyster is by far the fastest, followed by contactless cards that will accept fully offline transactions, then the slowest (that I’ve found) is contactless cards that require online transactions or server checks. The last one includes tokenised payment methods such as Apple Pay or Android Pay.

Monzo also falls in to the online category, from what I’ve been able to gather, the gate has to at least attempt to connect upwards in the TfL system to get an approval, even if it isn’t going out to MasterCard until a few minutes after you enter the system.


I have found that all contactless cards, including Monzo, seem to take the same period of time. I don’t believe it is going online with Monzo at that point.

This is correct, it’s not going back to central and out to MasterCard+Monzo until you’re already traveling. The gate still has to do some kind of extra decision making or processing as the card is claiming to want to be online only. Not exactly sure what that is but online cards certainly do take longer than those that support offline.


It is my entirely unscientific observation that touching in/out of a TfL Oyster terminal with a Monzo card (pre-pay or 1st gen CA Debit) is noticeably slower - certainly than with an Oyster card and probably with others contactless cards.

It certainly feels that way. I mean I’m talking less than a second slower, but it’s enough for the cadence of beeps to change when a bunch of people are tapping out of a station with a single reader.

Is it just in my mind?

What could I have done with all those saved quarter seconds?!


It’s not just you who’s noticed this (I’ve moved your post to this topic, where this has been raised before) :slight_smile:

But if Richard’s right about this (he almost always is! :wink:) then hopefully the new debit cards won’t have this lag, as they’ll support offline payments. Having said that, they’ll still prefer online payments so who knows..

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Thanks @alexs.

I totally did try searching for the topic before posting. Honest!

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No worries, if I hadn’t remembered that this was one of the few topics where I’ve used the :timer_clock: emoji (:eyes: weird memory), I probably wouldn’t have found it either!

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When I get off this train I’ll see how long the 2nd Gen Debit takes if I can.


I pegged that at about the usual debit card speed. Definitely slower than Oyster but not slower than I’m used to from my First Direct Debit card.

A purely subjective test at the end of a long day so I don’t guarantee the accuracy here!


Hello all.

I have a Monzo current account with the Mastercard debit card. For me the lag has got worse over time. Using both the contactless debit card and also the contactless on my android oneplus5 phone I experience a very significant lag, somewhere between 2 and 3 sec.

In general I am noticing that there is a lag not just for TFL but in other areas too - not 2-3 sec, but enough to make me think something has changed from the Monzo side.

For TFL I am very close to ditching monzo and going back to HSBC visa debit card…i just can’t handle the embarrassment when everyone is waiting behind me to get out of the tube…oh the shame lol.

Monzo, Just wondering have you done any testing on this? I’m thinking of benchmarking time it takes compared to other debit cards, and e.g. iphone vs android if using apple/google pay.