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Oyster Pass still used?

On our last visit to London, we purchased Oyster passes to use for public transportation - and now we're going back again. It's been several years, but they are still tucked in our Rick Steves guide - are they still valid (assuming that we add money to them) or are they obsolete?

Thank you!!

Posted by
16890 posts

We have our Oyster Cards from 2014 and have used them in London as recently as last September. You just top them up at a machine and you’re good to go.

Posted by
15682 posts

Mine's a few years old and still gets me on the tube. The money on it never expires.

Posted by
3239 posts

Yes, I’ve just reused one from about 10 years ago with no problem.

Posted by
1003 posts

Whilst you don’t need Oyster cards any more, as you can just use a contactless card or phone or smart watch pay, if you already have Oysters they are perfectly fine to use and especially if you already have some credit on them.

Posted by
7717 posts

To be a bit more specific, Yes, the Oyster cards still function just fine. The problem is you need to take the extra steps to load some amount onto the card, then if you guess wrong (which you will) take the extra step to get some type of refund (unless you are in London regularly).

Otherwise, just use a credit card or phone with contactless capability, you get the same rates/advantages as the Oyster card, no guessing about how much to load, no leaving a balance on the card, just ease of use.

Posted by
8630 posts

I love my oyster card. I would much rather use it than pull out my credit card in busy pedestrian traffic. It is all a matter of personal preference.

Posted by
258 posts

Our card is old and I'm doubtful that there is (currently) very much money on it. Do I understand that I can simply use a credit card????
This would be amazing!!

Posted by
5383 posts

Test your credit card first as some American issued cards still don't work and you can't be sure until you try it once. Amex all will.

As the Oyster card is old it will have a refundable deposit most likely of £3 which you can get back if you don't want to use it any more.

Posted by
1003 posts

You need to make sure that your credit card enables contactless payment. It's getting better but not all US cards did a while ago. Bear in mind that you need a card or phone or smart phone pay for each member of your party.

Just bring your Oyster cards with you and try the credit card when you arrive. If it doesn't work you have the Oysters as an alternative

Posted by
6806 posts

Adding money/topping up an Oyster card takes about a minute, so not as bad as Paul makes it sound.

Posted by
7717 posts

Our card is old and I'm doubtful that there is (currently) very much money on it. Do I understand that I can simply use a credit card????

Look at your credit card, if it has a "wi-fi" looking symbol on it, you are good to go. Visa, AmEx, and Mastercard are accepted. If your card is not contactless enabled, contact your card issuer, you may be able to get an updated one.

You simply tap your card on the sensor, just like the Oyster, tap out as well on the underground. Buses, you only tap in, not out. Use your card all day, overnight, the transaction will post as one charge. If you reach the cap for the day, that will be applied, if you are there long enough and use transport enough, a weekly cap will be applied. If your card charges a Foreign Transaction Fee, that will only be charged once per day, not each time you tap in or out.

Each of you need your own card or you can use a Phone or Watch with Apple/Google Pay, The cards, phones, and watches can be all tied to the same account, just each person needs a physical card or device.

This would be amazing!!

Yes, it really is, along with being able to tap to pay for most everything on your trip as you go. Heck, as your walking through the underground, you can even "tap" to tip the buskers.

Posted by
16890 posts

Not all US Visa cards work on the London transport system, even if they are “tap enabled”. This is acknowledged on the TFL website. My husband used his Bank of America Visa card for “tap and pay’ throughout Italy, and at London coffee shops and grocery stores, but it would not work for the Tube or bus in London. fortunately we still have Oyster cards so he used one of those.

My AmEx card worked just fine, but I still prefer to use the Oyster card rather than pull out my credit card when I am moving through the turnstiles or onto the bus.

Posted by
927 posts

We got our oyster cards +12 years ago. Still work like a charm. We top off as needed.

Posted by
228 posts

Because I have my CCs loaded on my Apple Watch, I used that in London for contactless payment. I never had to reach for my wallet or phone.