13 March 2016 | Phil Rogers

I’m posting this here as it will affect a number of you within the suburban/TfL zones 1-9 part of the Southeastern network. That want to pay with Apple Pay on your iDevice.

If this isn’t something you do, then why not read this about the TfL consultation?

MasterCard – Apple Pay – Fare Free Mondays

For Mondays 29th February, 7th March, and 14th March 2014 Mastercard have been running a promotion where if you pay with a Mastercard loaded onto Apple Pay, and use Apple Pay to pass through the barriers, you’ll be refunded up to £28.10 for each Monday. Terms and conditions are here

So great, since I’m not commuting the entire week this is useful. And a good chance to try out this tech

What happened?…

First Monday

It worked through Dartford, but at Charing Cross took several attempts to get out, and also get back through again in the evening. But fine at Dartford.

Odd, maybe it was a Charing Cross problem.

Whenever it errored there was a code 97 error, followed by code 70, or a mixture of the two

Second Monday

Again, fine at Dartford, but several attempts to get out at Charing Cross.

Then attempting at several gates on the way home at Charing Cross to pass through - and having to explain to the station staff that I won’t use my credit card since Apple Pay transactions will get refunded, so I definitely want to use my phone.

No advice was given to why error code 97 was showing on the gates.

Error code 70 is known, via a FOI request:

Unspecified Oyster Card Card not processed correctly Check card is valid

However there’s no documentation for error code 97

Maybe TfL can help

I asked them on twitter - they pointed me at the contactless page, but none of that explained why there was an error - more along the lines of my card not working/my card provider declining etc.

In the end they sent me to their customer services phone number:

@philmonkey 1/2 hi, 70 is an unspecified card and the solution is to try again. I’d suggest that you call us on 0343 222 1234 8am-8pm and @philmonkey 2/2 discuss with an agent or speak with your payment card issuer, thanks.

Funny, right, you’d think that TfL would know the error codes and be able to advise?

Mastercard know what’s wrong

I did a bit of research, and found error code 97, on the Mastercard twitter account.

They knew what was going on:


How to stop error code 97


Touch the TOP part of your iPhone on the yellow pad, as that’s where the NFC part is - or you might get error code 97.

I have an iPhone 6s Plus - aka the massive phone - so it’s bigger than the yellow pad. and just aim for it to sit directly on top of the reader.

With no clear advice from TfL about how to use an iPhone on their services, or an explanation of what error code 97 is, I suspect that there will be a lot of other people frantically trying out the Apple Pay approach to get free fares on Monday.

Unless they know how to use Apple Pay correctly…which coincidentally is on their website - so maybe their customer service staff need training to align error code 97 and how to use Apple Pay together!

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