Oyster FAQs: how to use your Oyster card

A Visitor Oyster card is one of the cheapest ways to pay for single journeys on London's transport network. Learn how to use your Oyster card to get around London.
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Passenger uses a colourful Visitor Oyster card at the Tube gate in London
You can buy a Visitor Oyster card before you arrive in London. © Visit London.
  • Visitor Oyster cards and Oyster cards can be useon public transport in London, including the London Undergroundbusestrams and many local train services.

  • The fare depends on when you travel.

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

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

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

When can I use my Visitor Oyster card?

Different fares apply depending on which transport services you use and when you travel. It is cheaper to travel at off-peak times.

On the Tube, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London, peak fares apply Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) from 6.30am to 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm. Cheaper off-peak fares apply at all other times.

The £1.65 fare on buses and trams is the same at all times, regardless of when you travel. With the Hopper fare, you can take an unlimited number of journeys for £1.65 within one hour of tapping your Oyster card.

How do I use my Visitor Oyster card?

On the Tube, DLR, Uber Boat by 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, touch your card on the yellow card reader at the start of your journey only.

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 to check your balance, add credit to your Oyster card, and buy 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 Visitor Oyster cards online.

How long does the Visitor Oyster card credit last?

The credit on your Oyster 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 IFS Cloud Cable Car?

Yes, if you pay for the IFS Cloud Cable Car cable car with your Visitor Oyster card, you can get a discount of up to 26% on the fare.

Can I use a Visitor Oyster card on river bus services?

Yes, if you pay for Uber Boat by Thames Clippers river bus services with your Visitor Oyster card, you get a discount of up to 22%. Simply tap your card on the yellow disc on the pier before you board and again when you get off. Pay-as-you-go price capping does not apply when using an Oyster card or Visitor Oyster card to pay.

If you're not sure which Oyster card to buy, find out more about the difference between Oyster and Visitor Oyster cards.