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PRESTO FAQ - Load Card and Check Balance

Have questions about using PRESTO? Find helpful answers to some of our most commonly asked questions.

There are several ways to load your PRESTO card:

Transaction times depend on how you choose to load your card and where you travel. If you ride on TTC buses and streetcars, GO Trains or OC Transpo, your load can be ready in as little as four hours. TTC fare gates are able to load the transaction to your card in 12 hours.

PRESTO devices on GO buses and GTHA transit buses outside of Toronto aren’t connected to the PRESTO network when they are on the road. They only connect when they are inside their vehicle depot – this is when the devices pick up all transaction information that the PRESTO system has processed since the device last connected. Some buses only connect once a day, so if you load your card online, then tap on a bus that has not connected to the network since your online transaction, that device won’t know to add that value to your card.

The maximum time you may have to wait until your transaction is processed to all PRESTO devices is 24 hours, but it could be quicker depending on when the device you tap was last connected to the system. For example, if you load funds online at 6:00 p.m. and a bus ends its service day and returns to its vehicle depot later that night, your funds will be available for pick up on that bus’ devices when it begins service the following morning.

To make sure you always have funds available, consider one of these options:

  • Set up the Autoload feature on your card. Funds are automatically added to your PRESTO Card whenever the balance falls below your selected minimum balance. Visit prestocard.ca to set up Autoload for your PRESTO Card.
  • Load your card instantly at a Self-Serve Reload Machine in stations, or at a Customer Service Outlet.

Lists of new transactions are sent to over 14,000 devices regularly, including financial and contract transactions for Autoload/Autorenew, and each device can only store a limited number of transactions. The 30-day expiry period is designed to manage the number of transactions stored on devices in order to guarantee proper functioning of the system.

If you don't tap your card on a PRESTO device within 30 days of any transaction, with the exception of transit passes, it will expire. For financial transactions, your method of payment will be refunded. If you want to reactivate an expired transaction, please call us at 1-877-378-6123.

Cash cards from your favourite coffee or retail shop are always connected to the network and will immediately know to load a transaction to your card. This is similar to loading your card in person at one of our Self-Serve Reload Machines and our Customer Service Outlets. 

PRESTO devices on the TTC, OC Transpo and at GO train stations connect to the central PRESTO system several times a day. If you’re using any of these transit agencies, you shouldn’t have to wait more than four hours to tap your card and complete your transaction. PRESTO devices on GO buses and GTHA transit buses may only connect to the system once a day, so the time between loading your card online and that transaction being processed to the devices on buses can take up to a maximum 24 hours.

It can take up to 24 hours for your transactions and balance to sync online. If you tapped your card to travel on transit today, it can take up to 24 hours for your online balance and card activity to update.

If you loaded your card online, you must tap your card on a PRESTO device to update the balance on your card. Your updated balance will appear online up to 24 hours after you tap your card.

If you have tapped and the funds still have not been loaded onto your card, please call 1-877-378-6123 for help.

It doesn’t. Transaction times depend on how you choose to load your card and where you travel. If you ride on TTC buses and streetcars, GO Trains or OC Transpo, your load can be ready in as little as four hours. TTC fare gates are able to load the transaction to your card in 12 hours.

Online transactions are processed through the PRESTO system right away; however, your PRESTO card must be tapped on a device to complete the transaction.

PRESTO sends your transaction out to all 14,000 devices across the network so that no matter which device you tap, the transaction will be loaded to your card. Some devices are connected directly to the PRESTO network, others connect at various times throughout the day and some buses only connect once a day.

For customers travelling by bus on GO or GTHA transit outside of Toronto:

  • You will need to wait until the next morning for your funds to be available. The load time depends on the device you are tapping on and when it was last connected to the PRESTO system.
  • Your maximum wait time is 24 hours.

To make sure you always have funds available, consider one of these options:

  • Set up the Autoload feature on your card. Funds are automatically added to your PRESTO card whenever the balance falls below your selected minimum balance. Visit prestocard.ca to set up Autoload for your PRESTO card.
  • Load your card instantly at a Self-Serve Reload Machine in stations, or at a Customer Service Outlet.

A "Pending Load" refers to value you have added online that has not yet reached your card. It can take up to 24 hours for your load to be processed. The next time you tap your card, the value is loaded to your card.

After tapping your card, it can take up to 24 hours for your account to be updated online.

Autoload automatically and instantly loads funds to your PRESTO card whenever your card balance falls below the minimum balance that you set. Using Autoload means you will always have the funds you need to travel.

There are a few reasons why this may be happening:

  • You tapped your card on a device that had not yet received your Autoload information.
  • You must wait up to 24 hours to tap, if riding on a GO bus or a GTHA transit agency outside of Toronto. If you will be riding TTC buses or streecars, OC Transpo or a GO train, your Autoload amount should be available in as little as four hours. TTC fare gates are able to load the transaction to your card in 12 hours.
  • You tapped more than 30 days after setting up Autoload.
  • If you did not tap within 30 days after setting up your Autoload transaction, it will have expired. Please call 1-877-378-6123 to reactivate your Autoload setup.
  • Your payment method was rejected.
  • If your balance reaches the minimum amount indicated in your Autoload and your payment was rejected this may result in the termination of your Autoload contract.

You can cancel Autoload at any time in your My PRESTO Account in the Autoload settings section.

Your Autoload was terminated because either:

  • Your credit card is no longer valid, or
  • Your credit card has reached its limit and the transaction could not be processed properly.

If your existing Autoload is terminated, you can set up a new one. See load card for more information on Autoload.

If you believe your Autoload was terminated in error, please call the call centre at 1-877-378-6123 for help.

The Autorenew feature automatically reloads your monthly transit pass onto your PRESTO card each month. Six days before the end of each month, your chosen method of payment is charged for the value of your pass.

You can cancel the Autorenew feature if you no longer wish to receive your monthly transit pass automatically. Please note: if you wish to terminate your Autorenew monthly agreement for the next month without incurring additional charges, please ensure you cancel by the 20th day of the month prior.

If you wish to cancel your Autorenew feature, please follow the below steps:

1. Once logged into your My PRESTO Account, click on the Load drop down menu and then click on Autorenew Transit Pass.

2. Manage Autorenew page is displayed. To terminate, click Remove.

3. On the Cancel Autorenew page, click Confirm.

4. The Autorenew cancellation confirmation page will be displayed.

My PRESTO Account users can take advantage of Autorenew which automatically loads a monthly pass every month. You only have to set up Autorenew once and your monthly pass will always be available for the first of the month. You can set up and manage Autorenew online through your My PRESTO Account. Autorenew can be set up online using your credit card, Visa Debit or Debit Mastercard. If you would like to set up Autorenew using your bank account (pre-authorized debit), please use a paper form.

If you set up Autorenew in the first 14 days of the month, the current month’s pass will be added to your card and a monthly pass will automatically be added every month. You will be charged for the next month’s pass six days before the end of each month. After that, the next time you tap your card on a PRESTO reader as part of a regular trip your monthly pass will be added to your card.

If you set up Autorenew in the second half of the month, you will be charged for the next month’s pass six days before the end of the month. The next time you tap your card on a PRESTO reader as part of a regular trip your Autorenew contract will be added to your card.

If you want to Autorenew by mail download an Autorenew form from the Forms page, and mail it to us.

A "Pending Pass" refers to a monthly or weekly pass you have added online that has not yet reached your card. It can take up to 24 hours for your pass to be processed. The next time you tap your card, the pass is loaded to your card.

After tapping your card, it can take up to 24 hours for your account to be updated online.

If you use Autorenew and want to cancel you must cancel your Autorenew contract by the 20th day of the month to ensure the next month’s pass is not loaded.

Your Autorenew was terminated because either:

  • Your credit card has expired and is no longer valid, or
  • Your credit card has reached its limit and the transaction could not be processed, or
  • You selected and reached an end date for Autorenew, if you did not leave it open-ended upon initiation.

Please note that cancelling your PRESTO card will not cancel any Autorenew agreements on the card if you transfer your information to a replacement card. Any Autorenew agreements in place must be cancelled first, prior to cancelling your PRESTO card and ordering a replacement card.

You can set up a new Autorenew online. See Load Card for information on Autorenew.

If you believe your Autorenew was terminated in error, please check to ensure your credit card has not expired before contacting us for help.

Yes, you can have two different Autorenew contracts for two different transit agencies on one card.

Pass availability by transit agency
Agency Passes offered Availability
Brampton Transit Weekly & Monthly Monthly: 14 days prior to end of month
Weekly: Next week's pass available Wednesday until following Tuesday
Burlington Transit None. Burlington has a Frequent Rider Discount program. N/A
Durham Region Transit Monthly Current month's passes are available until 17 days prior the end of the month. Next month's passes go on sale 10 days prior the end of the month.
GO Transit None. GO Transit has a Frequent Rider Discount program. N/A
Hamilton Street Railway Monthly & Seniors Annual. HSR has a Frequent Rider Discount program. 15 days prior to end of month
MiWay Monthly Passes are available 14 days before and after the start of the month.
Oakville Transit Monthly Current month’s passes can be purchased during the first 7 days of the month. Next month's passes can be purchased 19 days prior to the end of the month.
OC Transpo Monthly 14 days prior to end of the month
TTC Monthly Current month's passes can be purchased up to the 5th day of the month. Next month’s passes can be purchased as early as 8 days prior to the end of the month.
UP Express None N/A
York Region Monthly 14 days prior to end of month

Please note that period passes can only be purchased via debit or credit card online; however, it is possible to load a period pass on to a PRESTO card at the Customer Service Outlet of your desired transit agency, using cash, debit, credit or from funds on your PRESTO card.

Reload with Saved Payment Method stores your credit or debit payment information in your PRESTO account so you don't have to enter your payment information each time you load funds online or by phone. Saved Payment Method does not automatically load funds - if you would like your card to reload automatically please set up Autoload.

If your Autoload or Autorenew setup has expired, please check to ensure your credit card has not expired before contacting us to reactivate it.

If you would like to use pre-authorized debit from your bank account for Autoload or Autorenew, submit this paper form. Please note on the form you are requesting an update to your existing account.

If your Autoload or Autorenew expires, please check to ensure your credit card has not expired before contacting us to reactivate it.

Any amount can be refunded by completing a "Refund Form A (mail in)" and mailing in both your PRESTO card and the completed form to:

PRESTO Card Refund
c/o PRESTO Finance Back Office
20 Bay Street, Suite 600
Toronto, ON M5J 2W3

A processing fee equal to 4% of the total value to be refunded will apply to all refunds. Expected processing time frame is 4-6 weeks upon receipt at the PRESTO office.​

As part of the refund process, PRESTO asks customers to provide their PRESTO cards when completing a refund to close down their account.

If the balance on your card is less than $50, and you would prefer to obtain your refund directly at a Customer Service Outlet, you may complete "Refund Form B (station)" and bring the form along with your PRESTO card.

Visit the GO Transit website for information on whether you’re eligible for a refund and submit a claim under the GO Transit Service Guarantee.

PRESTO card users who have created a My PRESTO Account have the benefit of taking one trip when the cost of the trip exceeds the balance on the card. If you hit a negative balance, you will be charged a $0.25 fee the next time you load your card.

GO Transit customers can only go into a negative balance if you start your trip with at least $5.30 on your card. Visit the GO Transit site for more information.