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Mayor of London

What is a contactless payment card?

Contactless payment symbol

Most contactless payments are made with cards. However, mobile phone payments, key fobs, stickers and other methods of contactless payment are becoming more common.

Some of these other methods of contactless payment will be accepted on our services.

If you've got a contactless payment card but haven't used it yet, you might need to make a chip and PIN payment elsewhere before using it for contactless payments (including for travel).

Can I use my UK contactless card?

If your card has been issued in the UK and displays the contactless payment symbol (as shown), you should already be able to use it to travel on London bus services. From 16 September 2014, contactless payment cards will also be accepted on Tube, tram, DLR and London Overground services.

The majority of UK issued contactless payment cards issued in the UK on Visa, MasterCard, Maestro or American Express are accepted on buses. However, cards issued by Pre Pay Solutions will not be accepted.

We are working with the payment schemes and issuers to ensure we can accept their cards as soon as possible. We are also working with new issuers of contactless payment cards, to ensure their cards are compatible. This information will be updated regularly.

Contactless payment cards issued on other platforms, such as Diners Club, JCB or Union Pay are not accepted.

Some UK card issuers do not currently offer contactless payment cards. You can't use your payment card to travel on buses if:

  • it does not display the contactless symbol
  • your issuer has not advised you that it can be used for contactless payments
Even if it cannot be used for contactless travel, you can continue use your debit, credit, charge or pre paid card to buy tickets using chip & PIN at ticket offices and ticket machines at stations.

If you're still not sure if your card is contactless, check with your card issuer. To get more information about contactless payment cards, go to the UK Cards Association website.

Cards issued outside the UK

Most contactless payment cards issued outside the UK can be used to buy tickets or top up an Oyster Card at touchscreen ticket machines at Tube, DLR and London Overground stations, at ticket offices, and Travel Information Centres, even if they can't be used for contactless travel.

The table below shows which cards issued outside the UK cards are accepted for contactless travel on buses:

American Express logo

American Express (AMEX)

All American Express contactless payment cards.

Mastercard logo
Maestro logo


Nearly all MasterCard and Maestro contactless payment cards issued outside the UK are accepted.The majority of cards that aren't accepted are issued in the USA, Canada and the Netherlands. There are also a few other cards that may not be accepted.  If you experience this, please contact your card issuer.

Vpay logo


Some Visa and V PAY contactless payment cards from countries other than the UK are not accepted for contactless travel on buses. Visa expects all its contactless payment cards to be accepted on our services in the near future.

If you use buses in London regularly, we suggest you contact your issuer and ask for a new contactless payment card (newer cards have the latest technology and should be accepted).

Contactless payment cards issued on other platforms, such as Diners Club, JCB or Union Pay are not accepted.

Last updated: 4 August 2014.

Overseas transaction fees

You should be aware that as for other purchases, overseas transaction fees or charges may apply for travel made with a card issued outside the UK; please check with your card issuer.

Other contactless payment methods

Currently, some mobile payment applications, key fobs, wristbands, payment stickers and tags are accepted:

  • Mobile phones with a American Express, Maestro, MasterCard or Visa contactless payment application
  • Tags (stickers that can turn mobile phones into a way to make contactless payments)
  • Wristbands

Check whether your method of contactless payment will be accepted on buses before attempting to travel:

  • with your service provider for mobile payments
  • with your card issuer if you have a tag, key fob or other method associated with a bank, credit or charge account

    At the moment the following methods of contactless payment should be accepted on our services:

    • PayTags (Barclaycard)
    • EE Cash on Tap
    • Vodafone SmartPass applications

    Customer support

    To benefit from our full range of customer support services (including registering your card with us), you need to know your card number, expiry date, and the security code*  

    • If you don't know the card number or the expiry date, we can't provide you with any support
    • If you know the card number and expiry date but not the security code, we may only be able to offer you support by phone  

    If you use your mobile phone or other method of contactless payments and you can provide us with either a card number or expiry date, we recommend that you don't use it to travel on our bus services. You may wish to consider purchasing an Oyster Card instead, as this will allow you to access TfL customer services with any queries about your travel. You can't use cash to pay for your bus fare. Find out about cash free buses.

    * How to find your security code

    • American Express cardholders - This is the four digit number printed on the front of your card above the long card number
    • MasterCard & Visa cardholders - This is the last three digits printed on the signature panel on the back of your card

    Prepaid cards

    If you have a prepaid card (issued in the UK or outside the UK), it may be accepted for travel on our buses. Contact your card issuer for more information

    Joint accounts

    If you have a joint account, you can both use your contactless payment card to travel on our buses; you can travel at the same time and each card will be charged separately.  

    When you sign up for a TfL online account and add your contactless payment cards, if:

    • The cards have the same long card number and expiry date, you can only sign up for a single TfL online account for both cards
    • The cards have a different long card number and / or expiry date, you can sign up for an individual TfL online account for each card