Beware when topping up at the #myki machine

So I came across this fault a while back but never blogged about it, but after lining up behind a girl who had this problem tonight I figured a blog post was in order.

The problem occurs at the "quick top up" screen.  As you may know, if you walk up to a myki machine, and put your card on the cradle, you get this:

Note the Arrow pointing towards the cancel button, a button everyone needs to become familiar with.

What's meant to happen is that you insert coins or notes, or pay by EFT, say yes/no you want a receipt, and then your card is topped up.

This is where we need big red friendly letters.


Here's what is causing confusion (and annoyed frustration).  To illustrate, we'll use two people:  Ted, and Bernie.

Ted walks up to the myki machine and puts his card on the machine, to see what his balance is.  For whatever reason, Ted decides not to top-up, and simply takes his card and walks away... leaving the quick top-up screen on the machine.

Bernie walks up to the machine, and puts his card on the machine.  He doesn't notice that the balance displayed doesn't match his own, and starts feeding in coins and notes.

He pushes the OK button, and because he's a very studious person, says "YES" he wants a receipt.

But then he gets this confusing screen:

Bernie is confused.  As far as he's concerned, the myki used to start the transaction is already on the machine.  He thinks theres something wrong, or that he's done something wrong, or that myki isn't working (again).  He's right... just not in the way he thinks.

Of course the myki machine is looking for Ted's myki, but Ted is already on his way to the pool.

Eventually if Bernie waits long enough, the myki machine gives up, the transaction is cancelled and his cash is ejected from the machine.  Hopefully he hung around and collected it:  otherwise the next person who comes along will grin to themselves at the free money.  If he tried to do his top-up again, this time it would work.

Even worse, is if Bernie was using EFTPOS, his EFTPOS transaction probably went through, but then later would get reversed.  But he might not have access to that reversed money straight away, which could cause him problems if he's living close to his means.

Of course, all of this could have been averted, if myki had designed the machine just a bit better.  All it would take is for the machine to instantly revert to it's main menu screen the second the card is removed from the cradle of the machine.  This would alleviate problems like this, as well as other issues where people take the card away from the machine too quickly.  The moment you take the card from the machine, any cash inserted should be instantly ejected.  If at all possible, EFT transactions should not be processed and reversed if possible.

Although a simple problem, I am certain this is causing much angst out there among users of the system who don't even realise what's happening, not to mention problems for the myki call centre who have to field calls about these issues due to a flawed design of the way the myki machine software works.

Fixing this one simple problem is going to make the lives of all myki users much easier.

In the meantime, if you walk up to the myki machine and it's on quick top-up, push the cancel button first.


  1. Problems like this suggest that there was little or no genuine user testing. There was some done - I've asked to see it, but they won't release it. Maybe under FOI? Either way, yet another usability fail.


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