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Creating Oyster Card Account fails

I have two physical Oyster cards ("new" cards, that is with a "D" on the reverse side.) We used them on our last trip. I have been unable to create an Oyster Card account (for one card) on my USA New Jersey desktop or Ipad. It appears that the TfL website (needed even to "activate" the IOS App [TfL Oyster]) defends against non-UK sign-ins.

I used my September London hotel address for the App's demand for a UK address and it was accepted. But I don't have any control over my IP address, of course! I have tried entering the confirmation URL on Firefox, Edge, and Safari. All get the same TfL Error page. Thank you.

Posted by
13828 posts

I downloaded the tfl oyster and contactless app (Android) a couple of years ago and was able to register my Oyster card. I had to use a UK address. My phone is a US based one.

That being said, I just checked and was told the site is having technical problems. Try again later or tomorrow.

Incidentally you don’t need an account to use an Oyster card. The only use is if you want to keep a very detailed account of how much you’re spending on which trips - for example if you’re putting in a claim for work-related expenses or similar.

Posted by
119 posts

Although it's not essential to create an Oyster account, there are some benefits, an account means your card becomes registered so if lost or stolen any credit is protected and can be transferred to a replacement card, also if you mis- tap in/out at the ticket gates and charged full fare (known as an incomplete journey) you can apply for a refund/correction through one of the tabs.

I don't think you can register the visitor version of an Oyster card, only the regular Oyster card, available to all, also when creating an account one of the security questions asked is about a journey you've taken in the previous 14 days, if your out of that timeline or can't answer the questions I think there is a different process.

Many people with an account don't use or want the Oyster app, I have an older first generation card, so access my account directly on the web.

Posted by
4097 posts

I created an Oyster account last summer and registered cards successfully from home in the US. When the site is back up I'll look to see what physical address I used. It surely was from a US IP.

Update: although the site is up, I am not able to access my existing account (created summer, 2018.) I get the error:

Access Denied:
This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.

Posted by
8889 posts

I've had an Oyster Account for a long time, but haven't accessed it in a long time.
I just tried (from Switzerland):

Something went wrong?
Sorry for the inconvenience
Access denied
This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks.
- Ray ID: 503bd55aed7acc3a
- Timestamp: 2019-08-09 18:36:03 UTC
- Your IP address:
- Requested URL:
- Error reference number: 1020
- Server ID: FL64F21
- User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Ubuntu; Linux x86
64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/68.0

Damn, I hate it when internet sites do stupid things that block access from different countries. Small town thinking.

Posted by
5600 posts

The TFL people told me to use its address to register my Oyster. From the U.S. you cannot add money to the card, but you can check your balance. Essentially, limited useable features in the states.i never did bother to register them.

Posted by
8889 posts

"From the U.S. you cannot add money to the card," - It always has been that if your address was outside the UK, you could not add credit online. Note it is the address, not having a foreign card. I have a UK card and I still couldn't add credit.

Now it looks like they have blocked all access from outside the UK.

Posted by
6701 posts

Thank you all. I will abandon my attempt to register and add value. Too bad they can’t be bothered to state policies on their Imperial website!

Posted by
6701 posts

Nigel, in America, we use terms like “Imperial measure” to mean (for example) “inches not centimeters”, especially in a scientific or craft/trade context. But you are correct in assuming that I meant it slightly ironically, as in “heavy-handed government agency.” When I tell a family member to meet me in the VIP lounge at a theater, I refer to the “Imperialist Room.” But that last form of the word does not have any UK implications, even here in the Colonies.

I might observe that because America starves its public transit agencies, and it shows, we find poor websites and apps to be the least of OUR problems in dealing with transit!

Posted by
751 posts

Frank II, thank you for the link to the BBC article. Credential stuffing was the type of attack, a warning to any of us who use the same login and password on different sites.

Posted by
1 posts

I had the same problem 9/1/2019. Tried to create online account from US but got the access denied error. Here's what worked for me:

  • Installed a browser with VPN support (Opera)
  • In Opera, open a private browsing session
  • Click on the small VPN icon on the left side of the URL area
  • It will have an option to select the location, pick Europe (not the default)
  • From there I entered the website URL and it allowed me to create an Oyster account login and link my cards

I might have got lucky that it used an address in the UK and not elsewhere in Europe. You might have to try this a few times until it works (establish a new VPN connection each time)

Posted by
6701 posts

I got lucky without finishing the account. My old Oyster Cards turned out to be full local cards, and my Credit Union Chip and PIN Visa card easily put 85 pounds on each of them at Heathrow 2.

OT, what a treat to be directed to the Immigration eGates and be through 2 minutes after stepping off the plane from FRA. Way ahead of our luggage. (2 US citizens)

Posted by
31060 posts

spammer flogging his website to remove money from people reported.