You Can Now Use the SEPTA App to Add Money to Your Key Card

The app interface isn’t exactly futuristic. But it’s progress — and with SEPTA, we’ll take what we can get.

A screenshot of new Key Card functions on the SEPTA app

Like most people, I typically refill my SEPTA Key Card by using one of the clunky metal kiosks at various SEPTA stations.

My experience with the machines seems better than most — they typically work for me, albeit sometimes quite slowly. (And I’ve never once missed my train due to being bombarded with those now-canned on-screen ads.) Other SEPTA riders appear less fortunate; tales of frozen and out-of-service kiosks seem rather common on Twitter.

Now, though, I’ll probably make use of a new, 21st-century option that might eliminate my need for Key Card kiosks altogether: my cellular device.

That’s right. SEPTA riders can now use the organization’s phone app to add funds to their Key Card travel wallet — or to buy daily, weekly and monthly travel passes. Plus, you can report lost or stolen Key Cards and view your Key Card profile, order history, and trip history on the app. (File this one under: One actual reason to download the SEPTA app.)

Sure, you technically didn’t need to use the kiosks before this. You could have done all of this online, on SEPTA’s website, where you could plug in your credit card info and set up “autoload” payments so that your SEPTA Travel Wallet balance would never reach $0. (Which you can also now do on the app.) And you technically could’ve accessed said website on your phone.

But this is 2019! There’d better be an app for that!

Of course, I should probably say here that the SEPTA app interface is far from futuristic. It took a colleague and me a few tries to figure out how to use the Key Card function.

When your time comes, here’s some advice: After you’ve logged into your Key Card account through the app, you’ll see a small box with your account information at the top of the “Home” screen. You can load funds onto your card by placing your finger on the small horizontal toggle below where your balance is displayed and swiping down.

A menu should expand that includes the following options: “Add Funds to Travel Wallet,” “Add Fare Product,” “Autoload Settings,” and “Card Options.” Voilà! Just hit “Add Funds to Travel Wallet,” and follow the prompts to pay with your card.

Swipe down on that little horizontal line at the bottom of the Key Card tab to see the expanded menu on the right. | Screenshot via SEPTA App

The app’s Key Card functions launched on Monday, and they’re available on both Android and iPhone devices. It’s worth noting, though, that they’re still in the soft rollout phase. SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said the official launch is planned for next Tuesday.

“We just wanted to, like with a lot of new technology launching these days, give it a little bit of space before more fully promoting it,” Busch said. “But obviously people are seeing it and starting to use it, so there might be a few little tweaks we have make this week. But otherwise it’s fully functional, and we think it’s an added convenience for customers.”

If you already have the SEPTA app, you’ll have to re-download it to reap the benefits of the new functionality. Then you should be good to go.

Busch noted that the app update won’t allow you to swipe your phone at SEPTA turnstiles to pay for rides — you’ll still have to use your physical Key Card, of course.

After all, who knows how long it’ll be before SEPTA gets on board with that type of technology.