Adding Auto Top-Up to a child’s Zip Oyster photocard should be as easy as it is to do the same for an adult Oyster Card but Transport for London (TFL) has made the process unintuitive to say the least.
But it isn’t tricky if you follow our step-by-step tutorial below. Basically, you need to add your child's Zip Oyster card to your own personal Oyster account to set up auto top-up. Detailed step-by-step instructions below.
Children aged 5-17 can get free and discounted travel on TFL’s services with a Zip Oyster photocard.
Kids aged 5-10 Free travel on Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail but require the Zip Photocard to prove their age and residency.
Children aged 11-15 get free travel on buses and trams, and child-rate Pay As You Go fares on Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail, plus 50% off most fares on National Rail services and on the Thames Clippers River Bus services.
Children aged 16-17 can get 50% off adult PAYG fares on bus, Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London, plus child-rate 7 Day, Monthly or longer period Travelcard and Bus & Tram Pass. If they live in London, you get free travel on buses and trams
A parent or guardian must apply for an Oyster Zip photocard.
Kids older than 10 using a Zip Photocard get cheaper travel on the tube and trains but they do need to have money on the card to pay these reduced fares.
The easiest way to make sure that the card always has money on it is to set up Auto Top-Up, where your bank debit or credit card is charged when the card is nearly empty of cash.
Many adults set this up on their Oyster Card.
It’s not as easy to add Auto Top Up to a Zip Card. But it is possible!
Here’s how to add Auto Top-Up to a child’s Zip Oyster Card.
Zip cards aren’t automatically part of the parent’s Oyster account. You have to 'Add an existing card' to your account. This will actually be the child's Zip Card.
1. Sign in to your Oyster Account.
2. In the right-hand menu, go to 'My Oyster Cards' or click the 'Add an existing card' box.
3. Type in the 12-digit card number that's on the top right on the back of the Zip Photocard.
4. This takes you to the Top Up section where you can follow the instructions in the same way as topping up an Oyster Card. Select the 'Pay as you go with Auto top up' in the Select product options box.
5. Choose the amount you want to be added to the card when it runs low.
You will receive a summary of the Auto Top-Up.
6. Once completed you must wait 30 minutes before using the card to activate the Auto Top-Up.