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 on your Oyster card.
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 Oyster 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 fares 2023
Fares increased on 5 March 2023. This page shows the new fares.
For central London (zone 1) it costs £2.70 off peak and £2.80 peak per journey with a contactless debit or credit card.
Read more about London’s zones.
Contactless single fares from 5 March 2023
|Contactless Single Fares|
What are the contactless peak/off-peak hours?
Monday–Friday 6.30am–9.30am and from 4pm–7pm.
If you travel into central London (zone 1) from an outer zone, there is no afternoon peak rate. You are charged the off-peak fare.
Off-peak fares are charged at all other times, including Public Holidays.
Contactless Daily Cap 2023
If you want to use your contactless card to pay for travel for the whole day, there’s a ‘daily cap’. This is the maximum you pay for unlimited travel in one day. For central London, it’s £8.10.
Contactless daily cap from 5 March 2023
|Contactless Daily Cap|
It’s £1.75 for one bus journey or for unlimited bus journeys within one hour with a contactless card. If you use the buses all day, £5.25 is the maximum amount deducted from your card.
There are no zones for bus travel in London.
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 anyone visiting London for 5-7 days, a weekly Travelcard or bus pass might be cheaper depending on the day you first use public transport.
For central London (zone 1) it’s £40.70. Contactless weekly cap prices are the same as weekly Travelcard prices.
- 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
The cost for bus travel between Monday and Sunday is £24.70.
- 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 do I use a contactless card?
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, tap the reader otherwise you are 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 the fees with your card provider first.
If you have two or more contactless cards, make sure they’re not near 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’ on the screen. Look out for the prompt – it’s easy to miss.
Last updated: 5 March 2023