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TripKey or OV Chipkaart?

Our daughter recently moved to Amsterdam, so we will be visiting twice this year and probably once or twice a year as long as she stays there. For our March trip, we will spend a total of one week in Amsterdam, and a few days in Leiden, Den Haag, and Utrecht; when we return in June we have 6 days in Amsterdam but will likely do some day trips, perhaps to Enkhuizen or the Open-Air museum near Arnhem.

I know Rick recommends TripKey as a simpler option, but I'd like to hang onto the card for future use and that doesn't seem like an option with TripKey. (I still have my Oyster card from years ago, which worked perfectly on our recent trip, as well as our 2011 cards for the Tokyo subway system...) So I am leaning towards getting the OV-Chipkaart - perhaps the personal one for myself and the anonymous for my husband, so he can hand it off to my sister who will visit with me in June. I'd appreciate any suggestions or advice!

Posted by
228 posts

OV chip card is good for 5 years . You have to keep money on it and there is a minimum . I seem to remember 4 euro for the tram/bus/metro and 20 euro for a train . Every one needs their own chip card . Check in and don't forget to check out with it or the max will be charged . When you check out there's a display showing how much the trip costs you , and the balance you now have . Kids under 4 don't have to have one but I don't know what they pay or how . There are however kid tickets for 3.50 euro per child for a whole day of travel . If I left something out I'm sure someone will correct me .

Posted by
380 posts

Here's the link on TripKey FAQ about keeping the card for future visits:
3.50 euro for the first 3 months, then 1.50 euro for each subsequent month.

Given your plans, this might be expensive. OV-Chipkaart might work better for you.

Posted by
2487 posts

The major drawback of the OV Chipkaart for short-term visitors is to get the balance refunded after use. In your case that's not really an issue. I'd go for the OV Chipkaart.

Posted by
1005 posts

Another drawback to the OV-Chipkaart is that you have to keep topping it up so that there is a minimum of 20 euros on it so that you can use trains. Because you don't have a Dutch bank account, you can't top it up online. You'll have to do this at a ticket machine or in person at a transportation office. But because of your frequent visits, the OV-Chipkaart probably works best for you. Tripkey might work better for your husband and/or sister.

Posted by
809 posts

Thanks to all for your helpful responses! You are generally confirming the direction that I was leaning in, but it’s helpful to have all the additional details. I’ll check with my daughter to see if they have a Dutch bank account that I could use to top up online, but for our visits topping it up in person probably won’t be a big deal.

I’ll touch base with my sister to see how often she plans to visit. But the TripKey might well be the way to go for everyone but me.

Posted by
129 posts

I'm a big TripKey can turn it in, and then go back on a later trip and use the same number they give you to pick up cards...up to 12 on a number. In other words, you don't have to sign up again. I was there for 2 weeks in late January for business, and leave tonight for another week. I'm bringing 2 family members with me. Stop at the Hertz desk, give them my number, and we get 3 cards that are hooked to my Visa account. No topping off, and I (eventually....) get an email with my usage details.

In your specific case, I think maybe the OV card is better, because you will be giving it to another person, so they won't hit your credit card. One note--my co-workers last time used the OV card, and they could not get the machines to work to top off their accounts--they had to go stand in line for 10-15 minutes.

Posted by
143 posts

First of all: A tripkey card IS an ov-chipkaart. There are four kinds of ov-chipcards
- personal cards (only available with an address in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or Luxembourg AND you need a Dutch bank account or Paypal)
- anonymous cards
- business cards (like Tripkey, but there are others, mainly aimed at business travellers)
- paper cards for single use (single, day passes, ...)

Each traveller needs it's own chipcard.

A personal or an anonymous card both cost 7.50 euros and are valid for about 5 years. A personal card can only be bought online.

The big difference between the business version and the personal/anonymous version, is that the business version is billed after the trips and the personal/anonymous needs balance which will be deducted at each check in. For the trains a minimum balance of 20 euros is required at each check in. For most buses/trams/metros the minimum balance is zero. However at check-in 4 euros will be deducted, which can result in an, often temporary, negative balance.

For train tickets the difference between a single/return and the fare via an ov-chipkaart is only one euro. The biggest difference is with buses/trams where single tickets are often 50% to 100% more expensive than when using an ov-chipkaart. In some cases however singles can be cheaper.

A personal ov-chipkaart is often used by people who bought an annual discount pass which gives 20 or 40% discounts on trips.

For children under 12, there are all kinds of different type of fares, depending on the mode and the transport company, but mostly cheaper than using an ov-chipkaart.