Oyster Card (London) : FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Why purchase my London Oyster Card before I arrive in London?
It is best to purchase your Oyster card before you go as it avoids having to wait in long queues in London. You will have your credit and be free to jump on any train/bus and travel. It is an easy and hassle free way to travel. A Visitor Oyster Card comes with a £5 activation-fee and the pre-paid denomination.

Where to Top up my Oyster Card locally?
Once the credit runs out, you can top-up your credit at any Underground station and any licensed stores around London.

Can I claim a refund if I lose my Oyster card for visitors?
No.

Does the Oyster Card cover travel on all Zones on the Underground?
The Oyster card covers travel on Zones 1-9 and charges the card according to the journey.

Can I use my Oyster Card on airport express services?

Oyster Cards can only be used on the Gatwick Express and Heathrow Express. Stansted Express do not accept Oyster Cards. You can get a dedicated ticket for Heathrow Express before departing.

Alternatively, Oyster Cards can be used on the London Underground to get from Heathrow Airport into central London. 

Can I let someone else use my Oyster card for visitors?
Yes. You can lend your card to anyone when you are not using it to travel at adult-rate.

Can I get a refund on any unused credit when I have finished with my Oyster card for visitors?
If you're still in London, you can get a refund in person: If your remaining credit is £10 or less, you can get a refund from a Tube station ticket machine.You can also get a refund at a Visitor Centre (except Gatwick). Your Visitor Oyster card will be cancelled when the refund is processed. 

If you've left London: 

You are able to call or mail TfL Customer services to receive your refund. 

Does my Oyster card for visitors ever expire?
No, it does not have an expiry date. The pay as you go credit will sit on your card until you are ready to use it again.

Do I need a replacement card when the money runs out?
No, you can top up your card when the pay as you go balance runs out. You can do this at Tube station ticket offices, self service ticket machines at Tube stations, London Travel Information Centres, and Oyster Ticket Stops.

What should I do if my Oyster card for visitors stops working?
If your Oyster cards for Visitors stops working, you should take it to a Tube station ticket office between 8 am and 8 pm daily. The ticket seller will determine how much money is left on your card and this will be transferred to a replacement Oyster card.

If you are unable to get to a Tube station, send the card to Oyster Ticketing and Refunds, 55 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BD, and they will arrange to refund the outstanding balance.

Please note that cheques will be issued in Sterling and you will be responsible for paying any exchange rate fees.

Can children travel free?
Children under 11 travel free on buses & trams. Children under 11 also travel free on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and some National Rail services when accompanied by a fare-paying adult (up to 4 children per adult).