The £5 deposit you pay for an Oyster card is refundable along with any pre-pay (Pay as you go) money left on the card.
Before you claim a refund, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you’ve used your Oyster card on a Pay as you go basis and it’s not loaded with a weekly Travelcard or bus pass then it’s transferable. And the money doesn’t expire so you can give it to a friend, relative or anyone else to use.
If you don’t know anyone who might want to use an Oyster or you don’t plan to return to London, you can get back your unused money.
Where to get a refund in London
Refunds are available from all underground (tube) station ticket offices, including the ticket offices at Heathrow airport, and some ticket machines. They can refund your £5 deposit and up to £10 of Pay as you go money.
(For some reason, the official Transport for London website says ‘You will need to send your Oyster card to us to get your deposit refunded’. This is a bit misleading. You do not need to send it to them to get your deposit back. Refunds are available at tube stations.)
ID is required for refunds over £15 (see below).
If you paid for your deposit and pay as you go credit by cash, they refund you with cash. If you paid with a credit or debit card, they refund the money to your card.
If you used different payment methods to top-up your card, you need to fill in form. TfL send you a cheque in GBP pounds sterling to your home address which is not ideal if you live outside the UK and don’t have a sterling (£) bank account. To keep things simple, only use one payment method to pay for your Oyster card deposit and to top-up your card.
ID requirements for a refund
For refunds of over £15 (which includes the £5 deposit), you need proof of name and address. This applies whether your Oyster card is registered or unregistered. The rules are slightly different for overseas visitors.
UK residents need two separate documents. One with proof of name and another with proof of address.
- Proof of name: Passport, medical card, birth certificate or driving licence
- Proof of address: Current Council Tax bill or a residential utility bill, bank or credit card statement from the last three months. Mobile phone bills are not accepted.
Overseas residents only need to show a passport or national identity card. Proof of address is not required.
How to get a refund after leaving London
If you can’t visit an underground station before you leave, send your Oyster card and photocopied proof of name and address (see above) to TfL:
14 Pier Walk
Refunds by post will be sent by cheque (£) or by bank transfer to your bank accounts (UK addresses only).
If you have any questions, contact Oyster Ticketing and Refunds on 0343 222 1234 (open daily 8am–8pm), or email email@example.com.
Last updated: 3 March 2015