Presto confirms iPhone instant balance reload, mobile fare payments are coming

The app has received significant criticism since launching just over a year ago

Ontario contactless transit payment company Presto has confirmed that instant balance reloads are coming to its iPhone app.

The Android version of the app has supported this feature since Presto launched on mobile in late January 2019. Speaking to CityNews, Metrolinx senior manager of media Anne Marie Aikins said the feature has been missing on iPhone due to Apple’s lack of open support for near field communication (NFC).

With NFC, Android users have been able to instantly transfer loaded funds by tapping their Presto card to their phones. On iPhone, users have to wait anywhere from four to 24 hours to see the balance that they paid for actually appear on their Presto cards.

Aikins said Apple only recently opened up support for NFC, so it’s now “working on” bringing the functionality to iOS. She didn’t provide a timeframe for when this will roll out, however.

Later in the interview, Aikins confirmed that mobile fare payments for both Android and iOS are coming as well. Through NFC, Presto app users will be able to tap their phones to Presto readers to make payments in place of using their physical cards — not unlike how Apple Pay or Google Pay work. As with iPhone NFC support, Aikins said she doesn’t have a timeline for when this functionality will be introduced.

“We have to roll this out and test new readers, and that sort of thing […] So it’ll be a phased approach and we’ll get there — we promise,” Aikins told CityNews.

CityNews interviewed Aikins as part of a larger segment looking at user response to the Presto app in its first year on the market. According to an informal poll conducted by the outlet, 74 percent of respondents said the app “isn’t good enough” in its current state on either Android or iOS. Overall, Presto has an average 2.1 stars out of 5 rating across both app marketplaces.

Source: CityNews