Slow card payments on London Underground

I’ve been looking around the forum lately and I just wanted to start a specific thread on using Monzo on the underground. I’ve read about Monzo card preferring online to offline transactions and generally being slower but try convincing your mother to join Monzo when she’s flying through the underground gates with her Lloyd’s card when my Monzo card took about 5 secs and often read “Seek Assistance. What’s everyone else’s experience? Is the length of time an issue?

I much prefer oyster not just because of my travel card but because it allows me to not break stride when walking through the gates.

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I don’t travel that frequently but I’ve honestly never noticed a difference I’m afraid. I tend to be fairly ‘deliberate’ in my card presentation, however, so perhaps I wouldn’t notice. (Some stupid woman once slapped her Oyster card down in a sliding dash for the train on top of my Monzo card on the reader. I must admit to some delight in telling her later that she was setup for a maximum fare since I knew my card had been the only one accessed.)

I’ve noticed this too. It either takes a while to go through or I get a seek assistance message

I’ve been using Google Pay for the past month and half, and have discovered that I’ve been paying around double what I should’ve been, as I have an NR railcard associated with my Oyster card :frowning:

When I’m at university, I use my Oyster because I buy a travelcard.

I haven’t noticed a difference in time between bank cards but maybe this is because I am that person who stops and slams their card smack down on the reader instead of barely glancing off it, not breaking a stride (I think this is something you master when you live in London). Using Apple Pay is much faster than a debit card in my experience.

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I’ve never had to break my stride using my Amex contactless on the underground it’s worked every single time and the gates open instantly without fail.

What’s the situation with Monzo?

It should be noted that when I’ve noted no time difference between Google pay and oyster.

What annoys me is people waiting for the gates to close before touching their card. You can touch your card as soon as the light turns amber :slight_smile:



I’ve never had any problems with my Monzo card on the underground. I’m only ever in London infrequently or when I’ve travelled to Heathrow. My partner also with Monzo hasn’t had problems and never had any 5 sec delays. It’s worked just as the oyster card I had previously did

How does everyone present their cards btw? If you’ve got more than one contactless card in your wallet and present your wallet it can be a bit of a lottery so I’m told

Monzo cards do prefer to be online, but TfL transactions happen offline. There should be no noticeable time difference between an Oyster and a Monzo card. I can vouch for this as I do it every day, twice :slight_smile:

If you are having issues please get in touch on the in-app chat.


If you use Apple Pay on your phone, it’s faster than a contactless card in my experience.

I agree. I find Samsung Pay quicker than using a bankcard.

Any idea why it sometimes says please seek assistance?

Only thing that would make me start using Oyster again is if you could add it to Apple Wallet.

At the moment it’s inconvenient, it’s another card to carry/fish for in your pocket

Can’t say I’ve seen any difference with Monzo compared to other contactless cards or Apple Pay.

All payment methods occasionally say seek assistance. I assume this just happens when for whatever reason the terminal can’t read your card. So I either go to another gate or wait and tap again … happens with Oyster cards too. So I doubt this is a Monzo issue

In terms of speed. I’ve always found Oyster faster. I imagine this is because Oyster isn’t a bank card and can be charged faster. Apple Pay and bank cards are all a split second or so slower than an Oyster card.

Yeah, I’d expect that to happen soon after iOS 12 is released fully as they’re adding the ability to have cards that aren’t just for banking into Apple Pay

If you’ve not touched in/out properly on your last journey perhaps? Card conflict is another one I believe when you’ve got more than one contactless card in a wallet. Or the card has been rejected perhaps?

Have noticed contactless is slowest, Apple Pay middling and Oyster fastest. Contactless for me always means breaking my stride, which is at first irritating, until I remind myself we’re still talking seconds to authorise.


The general impression I get from this thread is that Oyster is the best. However surely contactless has its benefits in that you don’t have to specifically top up? I’ve never used Oyster so I don’t know how easy/hard it is. I also have a feeling with Oyster costing millions to administer and contactless a viable alternative, Oyster’s days are numbered.

Oh, they definitely are. TFL is constantly pushing contactless down everyone’s throats, at every station. They seem to really want everyone to switch, for obvious reasons