TfL Transaction Issues


(Jeremy) #1

I have done a little bit of testing on the User Experience with TFL transactions and seen a number of issues:

  • TFL Transactions appear the day after or in the evening of days travelled
  • Transactions are either taken as a lump sum of the day or as 0.10£

This set up makes it difficult for users to have a live view of their transactions and £ in their account. In one case my balance was -3£ but my top up amount and expenditure totalled +3.5£, the difference was that a 6.5£ TFL transaction had not been added to my transaction list.

I have an idea to help offer users a better experience and would appreciate your view on this especially regarding feasibility (it comes with a number of assumptions):

As Mondo is able to use the users location and be aware that the card is being used to tap in and out of tube stations, my suggestion is that when a user taps out of a tube station Mondo calculates the cost of the journey based on the location tapped in and the location tapped out.

The user would then see a transaction on the feed for that journey and have the amount deducted from the balance on the app, this would happen although the card has not been charged by TFL yet.

When TFL do eventually charge the card, this transaction wouldn’t show in the feed, but would total the transactions that are already on the feed.

Things that need to be considered:

  • TFL capping travel for days and months and ensuring that the transactions on the feed do not breach these limits.
  • TFL price changes.

Let me know what you think.


I know TfL transactions don't appear until the next day, but I am still awaiting to be charged from 3 days ago
(Lee Martin) #2

As a tourist to London I recent had the same sort of issue. My balance didn’t match my transaction history. I have assumed the is a TfL issue and they havnt ‘sent’ the correct transaction info

Although I don’t use TfL everyday as this was a one off holiday, I did like the delay in billing. Again I assume this is TfL waiting to bill you the correct amount based on travel that day rather than refund you money. Assuming this is how it should work, and you are a regular commuter with a rough understanding of the daily caps for your travel, I would t see the need to see every trip transaction show on the feed. If anything it would just look cluttered.

Just my 2 cents, but I for one prefer to be billed the next day only with one transaction for what I have travelled instead of being refunded at a later date.


(Jeremy) #3

Hi @LeeMartn, I agree with your point on the number of transactions on the feed, I only make 2-4 per day so this wouldn’t clog up my feed too much, but I guess for those making numerous journeys a day (like tourists) you feed would soon be full of TFL transactions (although after a while they would all be £0, due to the daily cap).

Would a running total be best? With the details of the journeys made in the transactions?


(Lee Martin) #4

Yeah, if I were a Londoner, I would like the same sort of interface as the TfL website. When you register your card on the TfL website you can see all the trips you have made and the running total, then eventually the daily cap kicking in.

Having one transaction for the day on the feed which you can click on to expand and see the travel breakdown for the day. Not sure how readily available that data is from TfL, but that would be pretty ace!


(Ross) #5

I like the idea of one transaction and being able to expand it


(Rika Raybould) #6

One transaction expanded in to the individual journeys is pretty much the only way you could do it. That one transaction is all Mondo would normally see as the charge.

The TfL extended information about journeys taken can then be added on top of that in the detail view. It’s effectively an itemised receipt.

Splitting charges out in to multiple feed items will get messy. What could possibly be done though is using TfL integrations to estimate the end of day charge as it seems like TfL’s website updates within minutes of tapping out at a station.


(Jeremy) #7

Hi @RichardR, the integration with TFL website would help to ensure that the assumption on the feed is correct, and would mean the mondo team wouldn’t need to update the app when TFL change their pricing.

What is your view on reducing the balance in the app before TFL have taken payment?


(Rika Raybould) #8

Follow the example set by international payments, take the money off the displayed balance and add it to spent today but keep the feed entry amount dimmed until confirmed by TfL’s updated charge next morning. Also have a note in the detail view explaining that it’s an estimated value based on information from your TfL account.


(Stuart Cameron) #9

Definitely a lot of opportunity here for Mondo to integrate with TFL here. Not sure how this would work but it’s definitely messed just now!

Yesterday I had 3 TFL transactions come through, I wasn’t even in London yesterday…


(Jeremy) #10

Thanks @RichardR, at least there is potential to improve the user experience!

@stuart I know Mondo is only reflecting the way that TfL manage their transactions, but it ends up sticking out like a sore thumb in the mondo offering, meaning that users may decide to not use their mondo card for tube journeys.

If we can improve what the user sees and can the way that transactions work within the app (I’m sure that TfL are not the only troublesome merchant), users will see mondo as the solution for all their transactions because of the value it gives. This can help build brand advocacy and if mondo eventually offers further services (loans etc) the user will chose mondo over any competitor, not because of cost but because of the value they get from the bank.


(Stuart Cameron) #11

@jermey I will still continue to use it for TFL, I would be in the same position using another bank card have multiple transactions come through at a later date. It will be great to see with what Mondo come up with!


(Tristan Thomas) #12

Yep, TfL is a right pain :frowning: As you say, it sticks out even more on Mondo than on a legacy bank. Integration is on the roadmap although I’m guessing it’s going to be a bit of a slog to get it integrated nicely :slight_smile:


(Phil Midgley) #13

The problem arises because TFL charge the same for Contactless as they would do for Oyster travel.
Because TFL put a cap on the maximum fare for a day (which is in your interest) the only way that they can take payment is at the end of the day once all your travel has concluded.
Rather then calculate your daily spend on the fly and keep charging a little bit more for each trip, they just add up all your trips during their end of day processing and then bill you the necessary.
The reason that you see a £0.10 charge on your card is that on your very first trip each day, they’ll do a pre-auth on your card, to ensure that you have funds to pay for your travel. With a leacy bank you never see pre-auths on your statement, only settled transactions (normally 2-3 days after the event) With Mondo, you’ll see any pre-auths automatically listed on in your transactions. And if a pre-auth is never claimed then you’ll get a credit back once the pre-auth times out.

The problem with your suggestion (using customers location and trying to predict fares based on tap in & tap out) is that this data never gets presented to the bank (in this case Mondo).
On your first tap in of the day, TFL will contact the bank and do a small pre-auth (10p) to check for available funds.
Every single other tap of the day is only recorded in TFL’s internal systems, there is no payment taken. Its like you’'ve put your card behind the bar for a round of drinks. Only once the TFL processing happens (or when the bar closes) is when the bank gets another request from the merchant for the full value of the funds.
Its annoying, but its the nature of TFL and its done with customers in mind to ensure that you dont exceed their maximum daily charges.


(William Hamilton) #14

That’s what I’d assumed was the “problem” (as excellently described by @philgsy). I’ve also experience the debit balance on my Mondo card as a result.

The delay in updating (defeating the Mondo objective of instant notification) has made me revert to an Oyster card with auto top-up. Although it’s another card to carry at least I now my balances are sound.

Wouldn’t it be great if TFL opened up instant Oyster transaction data through API… One can dream.


(Stuart Cameron) #15

I’ve never experienced this 10p transaction?


(Tom ) #16

It pains me - but I might also go back to Oyster for the interim. I’m pretty sure there’s a fix/workaround on the horizon.


( surohpotsirhC) #17

Any idea on the maximum delay for TFL transactions?
I used my card on Friday, it’s showing in my TFL account as £2.80 but it’s still only £0.10 in my Mondo feed. I would have expected it to update by now. Surely a bank holiday weekend can’t cause a delay with the TFL systems?


(Tristan Thomas) #18

Did it appear Chris? I think they might have been delayed over the bank holiday :wink:


( surohpotsirhC) #19

Hi @tristan it has appeared now thanks. I forgot to check again until you asked! Glad your servers don’t take a rest on long weekends.


(Stuart Cameron) #20

Is there any update on tidying up TFL transactions? It’s really starting to confuse me! and it would be useful to see my weekly spend.

I know the transactions are offline and due to daily capping and weekly capping these are delayed but surely there must be a date that comes with the transaction (or am I totally wrong?) and Mondo could slot it in for the correct day…