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Oyster card no more? Contactless credit card?

I hear we can now use a contactless credit card for the Underground/buses in London. Can someone confirm that we don't need to get an oyster card?
thank you!

Posted by
5508 posts

You don't need to get an oyster card. You can still get an oyster card if you like. Some people prefer using a card that isn't connected to their bank account.

Posted by
16 posts

Can confirm - just spent time in London, used trains/tube/bus and never bothered to add money to my Oyster card.

Posted by
4152 posts

Since we have them, and for the reason Carol stated, we continue to use our Oyster cards. Contactless works fine too.

Posted by
26 posts

Almost everywhere wants contactless payments we got the Oyster card but realized you don’t need it, you can use your chipped credit card or phone if you have your virtual wallet set up, just remember to tap both going in and OUT of tube station with card or phone. Found on this trip a phone is crucial to trip, free app Citymapper was great for navigating around anywhere either by walking or transport, ordered SIM card from Giffgaff didn’t opt for phoning North America option but for £12 each we got 20 GB EACH for 30 days used it all the time and only used 3 GB , emails, phone in England, searches , navigating so useful.

Posted by
1126 posts

The advantage of a contactless card versus an Oyster card is you no longer have to top-up the card. There were several occasions where I was hurriedly feeding bills into the top-up machine to load credit on my Oyster card as the train was about to leave the station. Less stressful not to have to keep track of my balance.

Posted by
1260 posts

I can definitely confirm this, I started using contactless on the tube and busses in 2017 when I got my first one. You can also use Apple Pay on a phone or Apple Watch.

Just got back from the U.K. on Monday so nothing has changed.

Posted by
1255 posts

I have a question. If a US resident uses their chipped card on the tube, wouldn’t they be charged a foreign transaction fee with each use?

Posted by
2490 posts

They absolutely will be charged the FTF if their card charges FTFs. You need one of several cards that do not charge FTF. We have two--our CapOne card, and our Amazon Chase card. There are others. And you also get your cash back with these.

BTW, if you are traveling as a couple you need two different cards, one for each of you, just as with individual Oysters. You both cannot use the same card if it has the same numbers (our CapOne cards are the same account but different numbers, so we could, but this is not the usual setup for credit cards).

Posted by
29 posts

Unless I've missed it, I haven't seen anyone mention the "capping function" of the Oyster Card, or is that no longer a thing? When I was in London a few years ago, I recall that your daily travel was capped at something like 7 or 8 pounds. So if you were zipping around town on more than two or three rides, after that point you weren't charged anymore. If you're only going to take one or two trips on the tube or bus each day, maybe it isn't worth the bother to get one, but if you have a full itinerary, it might make sense, particularly if you have a family or are more concern about watching expenses than some are. I think there may also be a weekly cap. Please let me know if I am misunderstanding this.

Posted by
2490 posts

The daily capping is still there (with updated amounts), and this also applies to using contactless credit--provided you always use the same card that day.

Posted by
21293 posts

I believe someone has stated in the past that only one charge each day is put through to a credit card if you use a tap card on the Underground, so you aren't charged the foreign-transaction-fee repeatedly during the day. However, I haven't put this to the test. I just use an Oyster Card on most trips. Since I've left a trail of credit cards behind me in Europe, I prefer not to have to pull out a credit card every time I go through an Underground gate; I'd rather risk the Oyster Card.

Posted by
4734 posts

One main reason for needing to continue to use an Oyster Card is if you are entitled to discounts from the regular adult fare. This would be the case for children or holders of certain national railcards as examples.

Posted by
1126 posts

Transport for London does not submit a charge to your credit card company until the end of the day. TFL just totals up all your trips until then and you get the benefit of the daily cap when the final charge is submitted.

Posted by
2490 posts

The FTF will be the same whether it is 3% on each of several small charges or 3% on the total (.03x + .03y + .03z = .03 (x+y+z)

Posted by
317 posts

I finally added a credit card (with no FTFs) to my Apple Wallet and tapped away during my recent London trip. Not only does TfL charge after the end of the day based on your usage, if your Sunday through Saturday expense would be less than your accumulated daily charges, they will credit your account at the end of the week to give you the benefit of the weekly rate. It was really convenient to just tap and go.

Just use the same card each time. No need to register the card with TfL.

As an aside, I could have done my whole 3-week trip without using cash, except for leaving a tip for the hotel cleaning staff.

Posted by
310 posts

As the others have said, you can use contactless on the Underground/buses in London. Personally, I've had an Oyster for years and will likely use it for years to come. I prefer it as its not connected to my bank account, and I know immediately what I need to tap in/out by simple feel. If I lose it, I'll be upset, but it isnt like dropping a phone or bank card while trying to get through a barrier at rush hour.