Oyster card app simplifies top-ups in London

A long overdue companion app for the travel card.

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With the growing popularity of contactless payments, the humble Oyster card has a diminished role on the London Underground. Still, it's a useful option for tourists, children, or anyone who wants to keep a close eye on their travel spending. Today, Transport for London (TfL) has launched a mobile app for iOS and Android that makes it easier to top-up and review your balance. Once your account is set up, you can top-up from anywhere — no more queuing at a ticket machine. After 30 minutes, you simply need to touch a reader and the amount will be added on automatically.

In a perfect world, of course, you wouldn't need to touch the reader at all. That's the case with contactless debit and credit cards, as well as mobile payment platforms such as Apple Pay. Still, it's a step forward for the trusty Oyster. The app also lists your journey history from the last eight weeks (how did I spent that much last month?) and will send a notification when your balance is running low. The latter feature sounds pretty useful, because no-one wants to be that person holding everyone up at the barrier, or rushing to top up while the train glides away from the station. In the future, TfL says you'll be able to apply for refunds through the app too.