Why doesn't my contactless card work?

New and replacement cards

If you have a new or replacement contactless card, you might not be able to make a contactless payment until you've made your first chip and PIN transaction. This is a security measure applied by your card issuer.

Also check the 'Valid From' date to ensure it's ready to be used.

Your card works at other retailers

If you can make chip and PIN transactions with your card but it doesn't work for travel on our services, it may be because:

  • Your card wasn't issued in the UK - some contactless cards issued outside the UK aren't accepted on our services
  • Your card isn't contactless - it doesn't display the contactless payment symbol

Your card has stopped working

Sometimes your card won't be accepted, even though you've used it before to travel on our services.

This could be because:

Your card issuer has declined payment

This may be because your bank account doesn't have enough money to pay for your journey.

If this happens you'll need to get your card reauthorised.

You can do this in two ways:

  1. Contact your card issuer
  2. Sign in to your contactless and Oyster account

Once your card's been reauthorised, wait 30 minutes before travelling.

Unpaid fares

Sometimes your card may be accepted by our card readers, but the payment is declined by your card issuer.

If this happens:

  • You've made a journey that you've not paid for
  • You won't be able to use your card again to travel until the unpaid fare has been paid

To pay your unpaid fare:

Once you've paid your unpaid fare, wait 30 minutes before travelling.

If you don't pay your unpaid fare through your account or by phone, we'll try by sending requests to your card issuer.

If the payment is successful, this could appear on your bank statement up to 30 days after you travelled.

If you travel using a card which has unpaid fares and we are unable to identify which station you touched in at, you will be charged a maximum fare.

If this happens:

  • You will not be able to apply for a refund and will need to contact your card issuer as your card was not approved to travel
  • You won't be able to use your card for travel until you have paid the unpaid fare bank statement up to 30 days after you travelled

Failed revenue inspections

If your card has failed revenue inspections or we have detected suspicious travel, we may stop it from further use.

Your card is damaged

You'll need to contact your card issuer if your card is damaged and no longer recognised by card readers.

Your card has expired

You'll need to contact your card issuer if your card has expired.