Using your Oyster card

Yellow card reader

Paying the right fare

Make sure you pay the right fare by touching in and out on a yellow card reader at the start and end of your journey on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line and National Rail services.

You only need to touch in on bus and trams.

Find out more about touching in and out.

On Thames Clippers River Bus services, only touch in on a yellow card reader when asked to do so by a member of staff and remember to touch out again at the end of your journey.

Pink card reader

Pink card readers

Journeys that don't include travel through Zone 1 are cheaper than those that do. If you see a pink card reader when changing trains at a Tube or London Overground station, touch your Oyster card on it to show where you have travelled. We can then charge you the right fare for the route you took.

Incomplete journeys

If you don't touch in or touch out with your Oyster card, we can't tell where you've travelled, and can't charge you the right fare. This is an 'incomplete journey', and you could be charged a maximum fare. Find out more about incomplete journeys.

One more bus journey to get home

If you don't have enough pay as you go credit on your Oyster card to pay the £1.50 fare or your Bus & Tram Pass or Travelcard has just expired, you can make one more journey on a bus. You must then top up your credit to clear the negative balance before you can use your Oyster card again or before you can renew a Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass.

Find out about cash free buses.

Did you know?

We charge higher fares at the busiest times of day, so if you use contactless or Oyster to pay as you go, it's cheaper to travel outside of these times. Find out more

Maximum journey times

Every journey has its own maximum journey time. If you travel longer than the maximum journey time when you  pay as you go, you could be a charged a maximum fare.

Find out more about maximum journey times.

Only one person per Oyster card

Only one Oyster card can be used per person per journey. That means if you are travelling in a group, each person will have to use a separate Oyster card, or find another way to pay for their journey.

Carry your Oyster card at all times

You must be prepared to show your Oyster card (and supporting photocard, where needed) or your Oyster photocard at any time during your journey, whenever a member of staff or a police officer ask to see it.

Manage your Oyster card online

When you sign up for a contactless and Oyster account, you can:

Journey history

You can see details of your journey history:

  • Online - if you have an account, you can see details of recent journeys and transactions
  • At touchscreen ticket machines at Tube stations. These show you the last eight journeys you made and the transaction details

Please note - you can only get a history of your journeys using Oyster for the last eight weeks online. We don't keep the information longer than this.

Look after your Oyster card

  • Keep it in its wallet
  • Separate it from other credit or debit cards
  • Don't bend it
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