Leap Top-Up App harnesses Near Field Communication technology to improve customer convenience

25 January 2016

New! Use your mobile phone to:

  • top-up your Leap Card on the spot
  • check your Leap Card balance
  • collect tickets, including TaxSaver


From today Leap Card users with Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled Android phones can check their card balance and instantly top-up their card with travel credit or collect pre-purchased tickets, including TaxSaver tickets, onto their Leap Card – all by touching their card against their phones.  The innovative Leap Top-Up App uses NFC technology to communicate directly between the phone and the Leap Card.

This new enhancement will be particularly useful to Leap Card users who most regularly travel by bus as, until now, they have had to detour to a shop to upload credit or ticket products bought earlier online.

So, any Leap Card holder with an NFC-enabled Android smartphone which runs version 4.4 KitKat or later and with a Google Play account can download the Leap Top-Up App, and start using this convenient new feature – immediately.  In addition, people with the App on their phones can check a friend’s Leap Card Balance for them, allow them to collect a ticket or pay for a friend’s Leap Card top-up, instantly, and in their own time.

Launching this exciting new feature, Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport said:  “This new development further enhances the attractiveness of the Leap Card for users. Leap customers are already making significant savings of 20% on travel costs and are spared the hassle of having to make sure they have the right change before setting off. The NTA is to be commended for the forward thinking they have shown in respect of how to further improve Leap services. By listening to their customers and identifying an area that could make using Leap Cards even easier they set about addressing customers’ needs through advances in digital technology. Earlier this month, the NTA outlined an increase in public transport passenger numbers of 3.5% for 2015. Continuing to make public transport cheaper and easier to use is bound to see those results replicated across 2016. This development for Leap customers is another step in that direction’.

Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, who launched the Leap Card, and who continue to develop enhancements said: “We are delighted to launch this fantastic new App today.  Leap Card has huge public support – more than 1.5 million cards have been sold since its launch four years ago; it delivers 20% transport cost savings to card-holders, and gives great discounts to people transferring to another bus, Luas or rail service to complete their journey.

“We have been listening to customer feedback, and our bus customers in particular were telling us that they would welcome a more convenient top-up process.  Train, DART and Luas users’ cards automatically update following an online top-up or ticket purchase when the card is touched-on to a gate or terminal at the start of a journey, but the bus user has to go to a shop or a dedicated terminal, not always on their way, to load-up the credit they’d bought online or to collect their TaxSaver ticket.  Today’s new App means that people can make those top-up or ticket collections, using credit or debit cards, while they are on their way from A to B, or in the comfort of their own homes at night – whenever suits them – and start using them straightaway.

“This is a new technology in Ireland; in fact we’re one of the first travel smartcards in the world to develop an App using NFC technology for reading card balances and for topping up.  We have been actively trialling the App for a number of months now, and the early-user feedback has been very positive.  We are always interested in learning more about how our App works for different individuals, and we welcome all users’ feedback, to our special email address: customer.care@leapcard.ie. W are encouraging all new users to let us know how they’re finding using the new Leap Top-Up App.  We will be paying close attention to this feedback, and we plan to tweak the App accordingly, if any issues are found, or enhancements requested”.

Michael Hart, Business Development Director of Vix Technology, the company who delivered and supports the App technology, said: “This award-winning project is a great example of the NTA leading the way on smart ticketing and working to make every day journeys easier and more convenient for passengers. Vix Technology was awarded the project and, working closely with Snapper, delivered the solution on time and on budget.

“It has been a delight to work with such a forward thinking client, to have helped to deliver this innovative new technology into Ireland, and we look forward to ensuring that the app continues to meet the needs of Leap Card users in the future,” he concluded.

The National Transport Authority has developed this short, helpful video about the new Leap Top-Up App to explain how the App works.

You can check whether your phone is NFC-enabled and turn it on by going to Settings à Wireless and Networks à More à Turn on NFC.

Apple has not yet decided to allow access to NFC technology by third parties.  If and when they do, the National Transport Authority plans to develop this App on iOS for iPhone owners.

Full details on the Leap Card and how it works, as well as bespoke journey planning information, real time passenger information and interactive transport mapping can be found at the Transport for Ireland website (an initiative of the National Transport Authority).

Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport with Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority

Paschal Donohoe TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport with Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority