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Oyster Cards. Chuck them?

A friend who visited London in 2016 gave me her oyster cards that (maybe) still have credit on them. I tried to look up their value, but the website wanted to know the last time the card was used and to what destination. So, can I just reload the cards when I get there or are oyster cards not transferable?

Posted by
3491 posts

The amount loaded on an Oyster never expires. The Oyster itself never expires. The card is useable by anyone who has it in their possession.

You can check the remaining value, if any, at any ticket machine at Tube stations and then load whatever amount you want. You can also cash them out when you leave London at any Tube ticket machine as well as long as they are not Visitor Oysters. The machine will know.

Edit: You state "cards" plural, in your posting. You only need one per person, so cash out all but 1 unless you have multiple people in your group.

Posted by
1219 posts

At the very least, they're worth 5 pounds for the deposit paid on the card. So, don't just throw them away. It's almost impossible for a non-UK resident to use the Oyster card website, so just touch them to the top up machine when you arrive and it will show you how much credit remains. Even if it's just a few pence, you can top up your friend's Oyster rather than buying a new one. They're completely transferable.

Posted by
8889 posts

Seconded. The card and the money on it are still valid. You can use it and add more cash when you get to London.
The cards are not personal, anybody can use them.
Your friend has just given you a present worth £££, say "thank you".

Posted by
6334 posts

I have an Oyster Card I got before William married Kate, has their picture on it. Been using each return trip. I just top it up at Paddington Station.

So say thank you to your friend and enjoy your stay.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you all! Definitely going to give my friend another "thank you" for the Oyster cards (2 of them)!

Posted by
1668 posts

Two more Oyster Card questions:

We have ours from our last trip. How much money do I need to load on each one for a round trip from LHR terminal 5 to somewhere around Trafalgar Square?

Will the machine that loads money onto the Oyster Card accept a chip and signature type credit card? (We won't have much cash in pounds since we are only in the UK for one day before heading on to Geneva.)

Posted by
3985 posts

Technically,, if the cards were registered, then they are personal and cannot be reloaded by anybody except the person who registered them. I have two cards and while I didn’t register them because by living in the states I couldn’t reload them from the U.S. (must be a UK billling address), the London Transport people said I could use its address to register them.

Cynthia, the amount you’ll need to get to the airport will depend on the time of day you’re going there. The representative working at a tube stop can tell you, or you can check using the machine.

Posted by
1219 posts

It is £5.10 for peak travel times Monday to Friday from 0630 to 0930 and £3.10 other times. That should get you from Heathrow to Leicester Square tube stop or any place nearby. Your chip and signature card will be fine.

Posted by
914 posts

As others have said....

My Oyster card sat unused in a sock drawer for three years. I took it over in November and it was in perfect working order and I was able to add money onto it. Mine was TFL Year of the Bus—not as exciting as William and Kate.
Yep, keep them! :)

Posted by
11213 posts

It's almost impossible for a non-UK resident to use the Oyster card website.

I registered my card with no problem and the app gives me my balance as well as my journey history. (Not sure for how long but trips six months ago are not there.)

The ticket machines for topping up the card accept pin and signature cards. I use them. And if there is a problem, most stations have someone at the ticket machines ready to help.