My card doesn't work

New and replacement cards

If the first time you try to use a newly issued or replacement contactless payment card is for a contactless payment, it probably won't work until a chip & PIN transaction has been completed.

If your card is new, you should also check the 'Valid From' date to ensure it is ready to be used.

Contactless payment symbol

Your card works at other retailers

You might be able to use your card at other retailers for contactless payments and at ticket offices and ticket issuing machines at stations for chip & PIN transactions, but it isn't accepted for travel on our services. This may be because:

  • It was not issued in the UK. Some contactless payment cards issued outside the UK are not accepted on our services. Find out about cards issued outside the UK
  • It is not contactless; it can only be used for chip & PIN transactions (contactless cards should display the contactless symbol)

Your card has stopped working

Occasionally your card will not be accepted for travel, even though you have used it in the past to travel on our services. This could be because:

  • Your card issuer has declined payment
  • You have unpaid fares on your card
  • You have failed revenue inspections
  • Your card is damaged
  • Your card has expired

Your card issuer has declined payment

Sometimes payments may be declined by your card issuer, this may be because your card account does not have enough funds to pay for your journey.

If you get a red light when you touch your card on a reader, our staff will be able to tell you if your card issuer has declined payment. If this happens:

  • You must contact your card issuer to resolve this
  • Your card will need to be reauthorised before you can use your contactless payment card to travel on our services again
  • Sign in to your contactless and Oyster account.
  • You will have a notification which will prompt you to reauthorise your card
  • Alternatively call us on 0343 222 1234 (TfL call charges) to get your card reauthorised for travel
  • Once your card has been reauthorised, you will need to wait 30 minutes before you can use it again to travel

    Unpaid fares

    Occasionally your card may be accepted by our card readers, but the payment is subsequently declined by your card issuer. If this happens:

    • It means that you have made a journey which you have not paid for
    • You will not be able to use your card again to travel until the unpaid fare has been paid

    You will get a notification for unpaid fares when you sign in to your contactless and Oyster account where you can make a payment to clear the unpaid fare. Alternatively you can call us on 0343 222 1234 (TfL call charges).

    If you have an unpaid fare on your card and you touch it on a card reader, it will not be accepted for travel, but our system will send a request to your issuer to clear the unpaid fare.

    Once an unpaid fare has been cleared, you will be able to use your contactless payment card again to travel after 30 minutes.

    If you do not clear the unpaid fare through your account or by phone, we will try to do so by sending requests to your card issuer. If the payment is successful, this could appear on your card issuer statement up to 30 days after you travelled.

    Failed revenue inspections

    Occasionally we will stop a card from further use, if your card has had failed revenue inspections or we have detected suspicious travel.

    Your card is damaged

    Very occasionally cards stop working and are no longer recognised by the card readers. If your card no longer works for contactless payments at other retailers, please contact your card issuer.

    Your card has expired

    Check that your card is still valid. If it has expired, please ask your card issuer for a new one.


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