Oyster FAQs: how to use your card

Visitor Oyster card is one of the cheapest ways to pay for single journeys on London's transport network. Learn how to use your card and top up as you go.
  • Visitor Oyster cards and Oyster cards can be useon public transport in London, including the Tube, busestramsand most National Rail services.

  • Whilst fares depend on the time of day and day of the week, your Oyster card can be used on services any time that they are running.

  • You can top up your Oyster card at any Tube station, as well as many other shops and information centres.

  • Credit on your Oyster card never expiresso you may use it any time you are in London. 

To travel around London with ease, buy a Visitor Oyster card then use the credit to pay for your travel as you go. You can top up your card with more credit as you need it.

What services can I use with my Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card?

You can use your Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card on the following transport services in London:

  • Tube
  • Bus
  • Tram
  • Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
  • London Overground trains
  • Most National Rail train services
  • MBNA Thames Clippers river bus services (pay with your Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card and get a 10% discount on single fares on most services)
  • Emirates Air Line cable car (pay with your Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card and get a 25% discount)

What time of day can I use my Visitor Oyster card?

Different travel fares apply depending on which transport services you use, what day of the week and what time of day you travel – it is cheaper to travel at off-peak travel times.

On Tube, DLR, London Overground services and most National Rail services in London: peak fares apply Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) from 06:30 to 09:30 and 16:00 to 19:00; off-peak fares apply at all other times.

A single £1.50 fare on buses and trams is the same at all times, regardless of when you travel.

How do I use my Visitor Oyster card?

On the Tube, DLR, MBNA Thames Clippers river bus service, London Overground and National Rail services, touch your Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card on the yellow card reader when you start your journey and again when you end your journey. If you do not touch your card in and out every time, the system will not know which journey you have made and you may be charged a maximum fare. You may also face a penalty fare or prosecution.

On buses and trams only touch your card on the yellow card reader at the start of your journey.

What happens if the money runs out on my Visitor Oyster card?

It’s easy to add more credit to your Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card at:

Download the TfL Oyster app on your smartphone to check your balance, add credit to your Oyster card, and buy adult-rate 7 Day, Monthly and Annual Travelcards. If you have an Oyster card and are a UK resident, you can set up an Oyster online account and top up your card online. You can't top up your Visitor Oyster card online.

How long does the Visitor Oyster card credit last?

The credit on your card never expires so you can keep your card for your next visit to London or lend it to family and friends to use when they come to London.

Can I use a Visitor Oyster card on the Emirates Air Line?

Yes, if you pay for the Emirates Air Line cable car with your Visitor Oyster card you will get a 25% discount on fares.

Can I use a Visitor Oyster card on River Bus services?

Yes, if you pay for MBNA Thames Clippers river bus services with your Visitor Oyster card you will get a 10% discount on single fares on most routes. Simply tap your card on the yellow disc on the pier before you board and again when you get off. Pay-as-you-go capping does not apply when using Oyster or Visitor Oyster card to pay.