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Contactless cards on the tube: here’s what you need to know

Posted at 8:00 am, September 16, 2014 in Transport

© Flickr: tompagenet

Contactless payments have been accepted on London buses since December 2012, so it was only a matter of time before these Oyster-usurping marvels made the jump to the big leagues. That time is now: from today you’ll be able to use your contactless debit card on trains, tubes, the DLR – anywhere you use your Oyster. Woah.

So I’ve got a contactless card. Do I need to do anything before I can enter this brave new world of commuting?

Nope, nothing at all. But if you want to keep an eye on how much you’re spending, you’ll need to link it to your TfL account. If you’ve already registered your Oyster card online, log into the TfL website and tap in your card details. As well as keeping track of how much you’re spending, this is also where you can apply for refunds when your journeys get delayed.

But surely I’ll still need to buy a travelcard?

Nope. Unless you buy your travelcard monthly or annually (hey there, big spender), carrying an Oyster card along with your contactless debit card is basically pointless. Daily and weekly (Mon-Sun) caps will be applied to your spending in the event that your one-off pay-as-you-go journeys exceed the cost of an equivalent travelcard. Just remember to use the same contactless card for all your journeys, Einstein.

I should probably hang onto my Oyster just in case though, right?

Sure – it’s worth having in your bag in case your contactless card goes missing, or your bank decides to put a block on it (or if you just have some bizarre sense of sentimental attachment), just don’t keep it in the same wallet as your contactless card. This confuses the card readers and infuriates your fellow commuters when you cause the barriers to slam shut.

Does this mean I can use my Oyster in Pret?

Don’t be silly.

Need more info? Here’s what TfL say:

Check out…

The future of the tube map

Our guide to tube etiquette 

a brain-twisting ‘Name That Tube’ game

By David Clack

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