As you embark on your public transportation journey, it’s important that you know your options when it comes to payment methods. In this article, we’ll walk you through the array of payment options available, ensuring a smooth and convenient travel experience.
Dutch public transportation charges fare based on the distance travelled, and there are multiple means of payment for public transportation:
The OV-chipkaart is the most common means of payment for public transport in the Netherlands and can be used on all public transport, including trams, trains, busses, and metros.
There are two types of OV-chipkaart available: a personal, registered chip card or an anonymous (anoniem) chip card. Both types start at €7.50, and you can load and reload the card with credit as required. It can be used to travel anywhere in the Netherlands, as long as there is enough credit to cover the full length of your journey. You can buy a personal OV-chipkaart online using Paypal or Ideal.
The anonymous OV-chipkaart is a good choice if you do not travel often. It is transferrable and can be used by multiple people, — although not at the same time. When travelling with more than one person, each person must have an OV-chipkaart. If an anonymous card is lost or stolen, it cannot be blocked. You can buy this card at service desks and various other locations, including many grocery stores. You can upload the credit to the yellow ticket machines with the pink OV chip card logo.
The personal OV-chipkaart is registered to one person and can only be purchased online. When this type of OV-chipkaart is lost or has been stolen, it can be blocked within 24 hours.
2) OVPay; Debit card, credit card, or mobile payment
Since late 2022, you can also pay using your debit card, credit card, or mobile phone. It is used in the same contactless manner as an OV-chipkaart.
The good ‘old ticket is also still an option at many buses and stations. However, it is the less preferred option since the corona pandemic — and many public transportations (especially buses) are getting rid of it. So it is safer to opt for an OV-chipkaart or other contactless payment method instead (it is also generally cheaper!)
First time using contactless payment? Make sure that you follow these steps:
Step 1: Have enough balance on your OV-chipkaart or bank account
The balance on an OV-chipkaart needs to be topped up before it can be used. You can top up your balance at vending machines, select service desks, or by credit or activate automatic reloading online via the webshop. An automatic deposit amount of €10 is reserved on the card for train travel and €4 for bus travel. You cannot travel if the balance is below this amount. You can find locations to upload more credit to your card near you here.
Step 2: Check in when boarding
Check-in as follows:
Hold the OV-chipkaart, your card, or your phone (in payment mode) in front of the card logo on the smart card reader
You will hear a beep and the green indicator will light up; if you check in at an access gate, the gate will open
If you are travelling with children and pass through access gates, the children will have to pass through the gates one by one. Only put the card on the reader once – if you do it twice, it will check you back in (or out). You will be fined if an inspector checks the tickets and you are not checked in.
If your OV-chipkaart includes a valid travel product, it will be used for the journey. If not, you will pay for the journey with the balance on the card. The boarding rate will be temporarily deducted from the card balance and the actual journey costs are settled against this boarding rate when you exit.
Step 3: Check out when exiting
You need to check out following the same procedure as you did to check-in. Otherwise, you will be charged for the full journey of the line you are on. However, if this happens to you, you can claim this back by filling in this form.