Toronto can say goodbye to 24-hour wait times for loading PRESTO cards

Dec 17 2021, 5:42 pm

It’s Monday morning, you’re dashing to work or an appointment, you arrive at the train, and suddenly, your day takes a swift turn. You tap your PRESTO card, but it doesn’t work. Then, you remember: it’s been less than 24 hours since you topped up on the PRESTO app. (We’ve all been there.)

If the frustration of having to go back into the station to load funds on your PRESTO card every time this happens has become the least favourite part of your commute, Metrolinx has rolled out some significant upgrades to the PRESTO app that will change all of this.

“One of the key enhancements we’ve made to the app was the introduction of instant PRESTO card loading capabilities for smartphone users so that customers can load their card with funds or passes from wherever they are,” Barclay Hancock, chief payments officer at Metrolinx, tells Daily Hive.

Torontonians no longer need to wait 24 hours to load their card or check their balance on the app; it’s now instant.

“Once logged in to their account in the app, customers can decide how much value they want to add to their PRESTO account, and the funds are instantly added by holding their PRESTO card to the back of their smartphone,” says Hancock.

“The funds or passes are then immediately ready for use on any of the 11 transit agencies that support PRESTO — including TTC. Plus, customers can immediately check their balance using the same NFC [Near Field Communication] technology.”

Hancock explains that Metrolinx’s vision is “to get customers where they need to go better, faster, easier.” He says Metrolinx knows that sometimes customers forget to load funds onto their PRESTO card before their next trip, so they wanted to give them the ability to tap their card for instant loading, then be able to quickly and easily jump on-board.

When asked how people have reacted to the improvements so far, Hancock says, “Customer satisfaction is at the highest we’ve seen in the past five years at 84%.”

In addition to the above-mentioned updates, PRESTO app users can get low balance and pass expiry reminders to ensure they’re never stuck while on the move.

It’s also possible to check when your transfer window expires, set up Autoload and Autorenew feature, plus, you can pay with either Apple Pay, Google Pay, or your saved payment method. And if you have multiple PRESTO cards, you can manage them on the app with ease.

When asked if the PRESTO app will see any additional updates in the near future, Hancock says absolutely, noting that Metrolinx is “not done yet” as it looks to continue to deliver enhancements to the app as part of its modernization program.

“With the pilot launch of PRESTO contactless payment on UP Express, you can now check your transaction history after tapping your credit card or mobile wallet on a PRESTO device using the PRESTO app. We plan to continue to roll out PRESTO contactless payment to more transit agencies in the future, introducing even better ways to manage your transactions through the app.”

“We know that there are some features that have been requested that we are still working towards delivering,” notes Hancock.

“In addition to piloting PRESTO contactless payment using credit and debit payment, we have started the process to migrate to a system with even more real-time information through the app for customers.”

To learn more about the benefits of the updated PRESTO app and how to load your card instantly, visit the PRESTO app page. Download the app via the App Store or Google Play and remember to register your card on your PRESTO account to protect your balance.

Daily Hive

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