Oyster Card

Why do you need to have an adult Oyster Card or Contactless card when visiting the United Kingdom?

Here we are providing information about adult Oyster and guide you on how to buy a visitor oyster card. Also, we offer information about a child and adult Oyster card, the contactless card, and the differences between these cards. 

What is an Oyster Card?

Oyster card is an electronic card that works like a bank card, and you can use it Oyster cardto pay your travel cost. If the credit on your card runs out, you can upload credit to your oyster online, at the tube stations, train stations including over 2200 of “pay point” shops around the city. The card was introduced by Transport for London (TFL) about 15 years ago. Currently, over 80% of Londoners are using this electronic card or contactless cards to pay their public transport costs. TFL offers many benefits to Oyster holders.

How does the Oyster card work?

Let’s say that you top up your card for £10. When you use your card, each time you will be a charge for a single journey, however charging will stop after reaching the daily price. The regular fees are not the same for different zones. 

 

For example, a single tube journey in central London costs £4.90 if you pay cash; It only requires £2.80 with the Oyster or Contactless card. Thus, Oyster Cardholders can save more than double for their travelling. Also, there is provision for discounts and concession for the children and students.  If you register the card online in case of lost or stolen, you can call the TFL (or online) and stop the card and transfer the balance into a new card. The Cards are easy to top up in over 2200 newsagent shops and every TFL office allocated in Undergrounds or British Rail.

Why should one use an Oyster Card in London?

Soon after arriving in London, most travellers realise that they need to have a contactless card or an adult Oyster Card to make their travel easier and cheaper. While other Visitors upon arrival have to wait in a queue with their luggage; an Oyster Cardholders are ready to travel quickly by public transport. They will use public services at a cheaper rate than those who prefer cash payment. 

What is a Contactless Card?

contactless-symbol-
Contactless-Card Symbol

The contactless transaction is a secure and safe payment technique for people to buy services or products by using a smart card, credit card or bank card which known as a Chip card. These types of cards use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies or near-field communication (NFC) to permit a transaction to happen (usually under £30). So, to pay a small amount, the consumer can tap or wave the card above the machine.

What is a “Visitor Oyster Card”?

A Visitor Oyster card is a Smart-card that makes the transaction process of your travel cost speedy and simple. Toping up to your card is very easy. We show and explain the process to you. You can purchase a Visitor Oyster card ahead of your travel date and also have it shipped to your requested address. When you arrived in London, you have your card in hand and ready to go. Therefore, you don’t need to queue up to buy the ticket to go to London. Since the Visitor Oyster Card offers daily capping, the costs are less expensive compared to buying a single ticket or even Day Travel Card. So travel with no limits. Also, there are several discounts in specific restaurants and tourist attractions for the Visitor Oyster Cards users. Order a “pay as you go” card.  Top up the card with any amount you like. This depends on the length of your stay. For example, zones 1 and 2 for two days you need around £15. The travel costs calculated by the smart card and deducted from your balance. But, as soon as the total charges for a day reach the daily cap, the smart card it will stop charging. No matter how many more tubes or buses you use until the end of the day.

The Disadvantages of Visitor Oyster Card

One can find some downsides towards the Visitor Oyster Cards. To compare with a standard Oyster card, let’s begin with:

  • It will cost you £5 plus postage expenses to send it to you. Also, unlike the standard Oyster card, the £5 deposit is not refundable. Visitor Cardholders have to pay a non-refundable activation fee.
  • Next, you cannot register your Visitor Oyster Card like the standard Oyster. Therefore, if you lose it, you can not transfer your credit on another new card.
  • Also, you won’t be able to load weekly travel cards on Visitor Oyster cards. However, this option is available for the standard cards. Eventually, if you wish to have your Visitor Oyster card ahead of coming to London, buy your card in advance.

But, if you forgot to order your card, don’t worry! You can purchase your card upon arrival at the airports or all over the city.

Visitor card vs. Oyster card

You can buy your Oyster card at London airports or in the city. But, Those who want to buy it from outside the UK and ahead of their travel date they can get a Visitor Oyster Card online. Visitors can order the card in advance and have it posted to any place in the world. It is an excellent choice for those who feel worried or stressed concerning the concept of purchasing the Card when in London, and they prefer it in advance. Price-wise, there are nothing significant differences between these two cards. 

Important Note: We recommend not to buy the Visitor Oyster card if you staying 6 days or more in London. Buy the standard Oyster card at the airport. Because you can receive the deposit amount back when you surrender the card.

Buy your Visitor Oyster Card from TFL

Contactless cards vs. Oyster

The TFL (Transport for London) claims that both cards are less costly than purchasing a ticket. But practically, the cheapest way is using the contactless card because offers an extra discount.  For example, if you are using a contactless bank card, apart from the daily cut, the whole week (Monday to Sunday) discount applies to you. You will not pay more than weekly price. But what makes the visitors think again and not using the contactless card is the bank charge fees for the non-UK bank or credit cards. However, you need to consider the bank fees if you are holding a non-UK contactless card. 

What is the daily or weekly cap?

TFL considers the daily cap from 04: 30 am to 04: 29 the next day. For the weekly cap calculates from the date, you want the cap to start for seven days. For example, if your cap starts Tuesday and determined next Monday at midnight. The daily cap for zone 1 & 2 is £6.40 and zones 1 to 3 are £7.50. Some leading restaurants and shops are used to give exclusive offers and discounts for Visitor cardholders. Therefore, for most of the tourists, the best and more suitable type is” Pay as you go” or “Visitor Oyster Card” as they are not staying for long and less than seven days.

Do I need separate Oyster cards for my children?

You need to purchase a Visitor Oyster Card for each child above 11 years. The children’s card offers a discount (half adult rates).

Do I need to pay a deposit?

The straight answer is yes. But to explain more let us give you an example. When you ask for Oyster, it requires a £5 deposit to get the card. The £5 it won’t count as a credit on your Oyster card. It is just a deposit to return the card. However, the Visitor card, the £5 deposit, is a non-refundable activation fee, so you can not claim it back. If you don’t need the card anymore, you can return it to any underground or British Rail office and ask for a refund. They will pay you back your £5 deposit and the balance on the card. 

Download Children 11-15-zip-fares-London 2019

Download the fares 2019

Where can one use an Oyster Card?

The Cardholders can use their card while travelling in London underground network, the London red local bus network, the railway network in Greater London, Docklands Light Railway and Overground Railway. A 33% discount offered for Oyster Card holders for many scheduled river services. However, Oyster Cardholders cannot use Oyster on the Heathrow Express trains and the trains that communicate the Heathrow Connect train between Heathrow and Hayes.

How do I buy an Oyster card?

There are many places in London where one can buy a visitor oyster card or an adult Oyster Card. Many Ticket Stops all over London in neighbourhood stores offer this facility. However, the most convenient place to buy visitor oyster card Cards is Underground Station ticket offices or machines by paying cash or Bank/ credit cards. The process is simple, and the transaction only takes 1 minute or less. It is easy to manage the card online. 

Download Tube Map

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