Please sign in to post.

£5 Refundable Oyster Card Deposit Becoming Nonrefundable Fee

Heads up --

TfL -- https://tfl.gov.uk/fares/how-to-pay-and-where-to-buy-tickets-and-oyster/buying-tickets-and-oyster?intcmp=54759
"If you got your Oyster card before 23 February 2020, you can get your £5 refunded when you don't need your card anymore. If you got your Oyster card on or after this date, you can get your £5 refunded once you've used it for one year."

More in depth explanation -- https://www.oyster-rail.org.uk/2020/02/bye-bye-oyster-deposit/#more-2731
"TfL are phasing out the Oyster card deposit from February 23rd. Cards purchased before that date will still retain the £5 deposit which can be cashed in when returning or cancelling the Oyster card. From Sunday 23rd onwards an Oyster card will cost a £5 fee. If the card is retained then that £5 will be added to the PAYG credit balance on the first anniversary of purchase. Unused credit will still be refundable at any time, along with the deposit on older cards."

Posted by
3469 posts

So you just hang on to the Oyster until the year has passed, the £5 is added to the useable balance and then you cash it out. You still get your £5 back, so not really nonrefundable.

Someone else here had wondered about the bookkeeping nightmare all the £5 deposits were causing TfL on old cards that were destroyed and would never be refunded. Guess this solves that problem, at least for the new cards issued.

Posted by
8889 posts

Many people are moving over to contactless, fewer Oyster cards in use. I cashed mine in last month, after many years of faithful service. I use my bank card now.
The Oyster card was a brilliant idea, now nearly everybody has a contactless credit or debit card the need for a special card has diminished.

Posted by
192 posts

Right, and while you or I are probably the sort to hang onto their Oyster cards (I've had mine nearly 5 years), the prevailing advice and practice for most has been to get their Oyster card balances and card deposits refunded at the end of their visit to London -- making the fee nonrefundable.

Posted by
5689 posts

I still have the Oyster with Will and Kate on it. Was issued when they announced their engagement.

Haven’t used it at all. Nice keepsake and though I did use an Oyster in December I also started using a debit card.

Time marches on.

Posted by
759 posts

Ahhhh, no; not everyone is contactless. And I have no interest in digging out my wallet nor iPhone every time I go on or off the Tube. So I’ll keep with my Oyster Card(s) - I have 2 or 3 of them; collected over the years when I forget to bring one. Oh-my-God!, that means I have 15 Pounds plus balances just sitting on cards... well there goes my retirement plans. Straight road to poverty and the end of civilization.....

Travel safe,

One Fast Bob

Posted by
2260 posts

Even if then fee is non-refundable, consider what the price of a bunch of individual tickets would be as opposed to Pay-As-You-Go Oyster card. If I am reading the tfl page correctly it looks like 3 rides on the Oyster, even sacrificing the 5£, are cheaper than 3 single ticket fares. But why turn it in? Might one not be back? Might one have other family members of friends they can share it with? We have gotten a lot of use out of our cards since 2013, I am willing to bet that if we were to never see our deposit back that we have paid about 10p additional per ride. I know the fare cards in our home, Philadelphia, now have an additional fixed cost (and for a system that is pathetic compared to tfl's Oyster.)

Posted by
897 posts

So from what I've read, and correct me if I'm wrong, but each person needs their own card, correct? So for example, my husband and I both have contactless cards, but we don't have 2 more additional debit/credit contactless cards for each of our children, so we are stuck still buying Oyster cards for the kiddos, right? Or can I scan my contactless debit/credit card multiple times for different people?

Posted by
3299 posts

We’ll keep using the Oysters we’ve had for years until they are no longer accepted. Doubt I’ll ever ask for the £5 back. We run the balance down so there are only a few pounds left on them by the end of a trip, then put more money onto them the next time we’re in London. I’ve been in London 7 times since 2013 for one reason or another.

Posted by
10001 posts

Kelly'd.....everyone needs their own. You can't use one card for everyone.

I've had my Oster card for years and it's registered so I am reminded before I return how much is on it. I keep it in my moneybelt along with my Suica card for Japan and Metrocard for NY. This way I never forget it.

Posted by
1063 posts

"but we don't have 2 more additional debit/credit contactless cards for each of our children, so we are stuck still buying Oyster cards for the kiddos, right?"

What are the age of the "kiddos", children under 11 travel free (without an oyster card) with a fare paying adult. Children between 11 and 15 can have the "young visitor discount" added to their oyster card for half price fares.

It's all in here:
https://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/oystercard.htm

Posted by
4941 posts

It’s unclear to me if Oyster Cards expire (the card, I’m not referring to the deposited cash), say, in ten years.

Posted by
8889 posts

@Tim, Oyster Cards never expire, not since they were first introduced (in 2003).

And children are the one group that still need Oyster Cards, as they get special discounted cards with their photos on them, you can't get the children's reductions using a contactless bank card.

Posted by
1128 posts

An interesting question: is this being done because of fewer people using coins to top up their Oyster? Obviously the £5 plus the remaining balance has to come from somewhere. In the past, I’d often use my coins to top up Oyster until I went contactless. It seems an inefficient use of Human Resources to fill each Ouster machine with enough coins to pay out for redeemed Oyster cards.

Posted by
4536 posts

A few stats.

The net growth in the total number of valid Oyster cards in 2019 was approximately 6 million. The rate of issuing has come down in recent years, presumably reflecting contactless use, but only by 25%. Of the nearly 87 million cards out there that are still valid, 68 million have not been used in the last 12 months.

The average credit on a card is only £3.63, but that means £315M in total. The deposits on cards is £283M.

Just looking at the sale of cards between 550-800k are issued per month.

On a typical weekday around 2.5 million cards are used at least once.

Posted by
576 posts

As someone who lives in the U.K., has an oyster card, but in fact seldom goes to London at present, my card is automatically topped up when it has insufficient funds for the journey. The money is taken from my bank account. I would have thought topping up with coins is the sort of thing only tourists would do.

Posted by
3469 posts

Kelly'd

It is also necessary that the contactless cards you use are uniquely numbered. If you and your husband's cards are for the same account and have the same card number, they cannot be used by both of you for the same trip.

Posted by
3173 posts

Are contactless payments (via iPhone for example) also accepted on city buses? I think I’ve only seen the big yellow button by the bus driver on to which one taps his or her oyster card.

Posted by
3173 posts

Thanks, Emma. It IS slower and maybe in future updates, Apple will make it more seamless.

Stupid question — When in the Tube & you tap the yellow button leaving the station, there is no chance of an additional charge on your iPhone?

Posted by
8889 posts

When in the Tube & you tap the yellow button leaving the station, there is no chance of an additional charge on your iPhone?

A) You have to tap out (whether using an Oyster Card, a contactless card or a phone), otherwise the gate won't open and you can't get out.
B) If you exit where there is no gate and don't tap out, the system will assume you exited by taking a train out of London, and you get charged maximum fare to the edge of the system.

Posted by
4671 posts

The other people who are still using Oyster cards are people like me who have monthly or yearly Travelcards, as the contactless payment system hasn't introduced equivalent capping possibilities yet. Also older residents with free travel.

Posted by
6 posts

Am I understanding this correctly: if my husband and I both have contactless credit cards (with no foreign transaction fees), we can use those and our kids (both under 10) can ride for free with us? Is there any need for an Oyster card in this circumstance?

Thanks.

Posted by
90 posts

Rebecca

That is correct, the adults tap through with their contactless cards, when the children are with you, use the wide accessible gates with the international disabled pictogram, tap on the reader and walk through with the children at the same time, the wide gates stay open longer and close slowly, no need to ask staff, who might be dealing with other Travellers, you must use use your cards.

Anybody can use these accessible gates, particularly if they have a push chair/buggy roller cases, or the ticket hall is very busy.