Anyone with a contactless debit or credit card can use it to pay for travel in London. It’s ideal if you don’t have or want an Oyster card. Or if you run out of pay as you go credit.
Your card is used the same way as an Oyster card – you tap in and out at the tube or train station ticket barriers or tap the yellow card reader when you get on a bus. The main difference is that you don’t have to top-up your card with money, the fare is taken from your debit card or credit card the following day.
You need one contactless debit or credit card per person. You can’t pay for two or more people with one card.
Contactless single & one day travel fares
For central London (zone 1) it costs £2.40 per journey or £6.50 for unlimited travel in one day. (£6.60 from 2 January 2017)
Contactless single and daily fares for all zones are the same as Pay as you go Oyster card fares.
It’s £1.50 for one bus journey or for two bus journeys within one hour with a contactless card. If you use the buses all day, £4.50 is the maximum amount deducted from your card.
Contactless weekly fares
If you use a contactless card to pay for travel between Monday and Sunday there’s a weekly cap – the maximum amount deducted from your card.
As it runs from Monday to Sunday, the cap does not benefit everyone.
For central London (zone 1) it’s £32.40. (£33 from 2 January 2017)
- You benefit from the contactless ‘weekly cap’ if you arrive in London on Monday or Tuesday and use it to pay for public transport every day until Sunday
- If you arrive in London on Wednesday to Sunday and use public transport every day for 6-7 days, buy a weekly Travelcard instead
Contactless weekly cap prices for other zones are the same as weekly Travelcard prices.
The cost for bus travel between Monday and Sunday is £21.20.
- You benefit from the contactless weekly bus fare if you arrive in London on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and use the buses every day until Sunday
- If you arrive in London on Thursday to Sunday and use the buses for the next 5-7 days, buy an ordinary weekly bus pass instead
How does it work?
On the bus
Tap your contactless debit/credit card on the yellow card reader when you get on the bus. You don’t need to tap your card when you get off.
On the underground/overground
Tap your card on the yellow card reader to open the ticket barriers at the start of your journey. Do the same when you arrive at your destination. Even if the barriers are open, still tap the reader otherwise you’ll be charged the full fare.
The following working day, your journeys are added up and the money is deducted from your bank account or added to your credit card bill.
Non-UK issued contactless card
Visitors with non-UK issued cards should bear in mind that overseas transaction charges might apply when you use a contactless card. It’s probably best to check with your card provider first.
If you have two or more contactless cards, make sure they’re not near to each other when you tap your card on the reader. Decide which one you’re going to use and stick to it.
If you use different cards you will not benefit from the daily or weekly cap and you could be charged the ‘full fare’ (expensive!).
A record of usage is available, but you need register your contactless credit/debit card with TfL.
If you don’t want to do this, get an Oyster card instead. Receipts are available when you buy and/or top-up a card at an underground station ticket machine. You don’t get one automatically, you have to select ‘Receipt’. Look out for the prompt – it’s easy to miss.
Last updated: 23 November 2016