Oyster card (London public transport)

The Oyster card is an electronic ticket used on public transport in Greater London. It is promoted by Transport for London (TFL) and is valid on the London Underground, London Buses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, trams, some river boat services, and most National Rail services within the London fare zones.

A standard Oyster card is a blue credit-card-sized smart card that can holds ticketing information. Passengers touch it on an electronic reader when entering and leaving the transport system in order to validate it or deduct funds. Cards may be “topped-up” by recurring payment authority, by online purchase, at credit card terminals or by cash. The card is designed to reduce the number of transactions at ticket offices and the number of paper tickets. Usage is encouraged by offering substantially cheaper fares than with cash though the acceptance of cash is being phased out. On London buses, cash is no longer accepted. For more details head here

You can collect an Oyster card at most convenience stores & a ticketing offices of London Underground.

Register your Oyster Card

Be sure to register your card online to enable you to report it lost or stolen, this will ensure that you won’t be out of pocket if you happen to loose your card.

Contactless Payments

If you don’t have an Oyster Card you can also look to use your bank card or credit card if it has contactless technology embedded. While you aren’t able to load it up your bank cards with travel cards or season tickets, if you continue to use the same card your card your daily & weekly charges are capped by TFL.

Card Clash

If the readers on buses, tram stops or at stations detect more than one card:

  • It doesn’t know which card to take payment from
  • If you get a green light it could take payment from a card you did not intent to pay with
  • If you get a red light it means you won’t have paid for your journey
  • If you’re at a ticket gate, it may not open

If you touch more than one contactless card on a reader at a station at the same time:

  • The reader could take payment from a card you did not intend to pay with
  • You could be charged two maximum fares for your journey. This happens when the reader charges one card when you touch in and another card when you touch out

Only touch one card on the reader when touching in and out to avoid paying with a card you did not intend to use.