London Drum

How to top-up an Oyster card with more credit

There are five different ways to top-up your Oyster card: online at the TFL website, through their mobile app, by using the auto top-up feature, or by adding extra credit at an Oyster Ticket Stop or ticket machine in a London Underground station.

1) Transfer money onto your card at an Oyster Ticket Stop

You can add credit onto your card by walking into an Oyster Ticket Stop. These are basically just high-street shops (usually newsagents) and there are over 4,000 of them spread all across the capital. Most of them put a blue Oyster sticker on display in their front window to help you identify them.

All you have to do is take your Oyster card to the person behind the till and tell them you’d like to add some extra credit. They will also be able to tell your current balance.

You can add any amount of money between £10 and £50 in increments of £5, and the maximum amount of money your card can hold in total is £90.

Where are the Oyster Ticket Shops in London?

The TFL website provides a handy map of all the Oyster Ticket shops in London:

You can also visit one of the Visitor Centres at Heathrow airport terminals 2&3 (Mon-Sat, 9 AM to 4.30 PM), King’s Cross St. Pancras (Mon-Sun, 9 AM to 4.30 PM), Liverpool Street (Mon-Sat, 9 AM to 4.30 PM), Piccadilly Circus (Thu-Sat, 9 AM to 4.30 PM) or Victoria (Mon-Sat, 9 AM to 4.30 PM).

2) Use cash or a credit card at a tube station ticket machine

Another easy way to top-up your card is by using one of the self-service ticket machines in a London Underground station. Bear in mind that not all of the machines accept cash. If you look at the top then it will either say ‘Card Payments’ or ‘Cash and Card Payments’.

Self-service ticket machines
Self-service ticket machines at a London Underground station

Step-by-step instructions for topping up your card at a ticket machine:

  1. Tap your Oyster card on the yellow reader underneath the touch screen. You will then be able to see your current balance
  2. Select ‘Add top-up’ and choose the amount of money you’d like to add
  3. If you’re paying with cash then feed the money into the slot
  4. If you’re paying with a bank card then insert it into the slot and enter your PIN
  5. Touch your Oyster card on the yellow reader again so the transaction can complete. Note: the top-up will not be added to your card until you complete this step
  6. Your new balance will then appear on the screen, and you will be given the option to print out a paper receipt

3) Add more pay-as-you-go credit online at the TFL website

If you register your card online at TFL’s website then you can top it up with extra funds using a debit card or credit card. Note: It’s not possible to register Visitor Oyster cards, only regular blue Oyster cards.

TFL’s Oyster website
Topping up your card on TFL’s Oyster website

All you have to do is select the option for ‘Top up or buy season ticket’ and choose ‘Pay as you go’ from the dropdown menu. You can then pick any amount of money between £5 and £50, in multiples of £5.

Note: You will have to wait 30 minutes for it to go through the system (although it’s usually a lot quicker), and your new balance will update to your card the next time you tap it down on a yellow Oyster reader. You can do that on a bus, a train station, a tram stop, or a river bus pier.

4) Use auto top-up to transfer credit from your bank account

If you want to take the hassle out of topping up then you can use the TFL website to switch on your card’s ‘auto top-up’ feature.

After opening an account and registering your card you will see an option to ‘Manage auto top-up’.

You will then be asked to enter your bank account details and choose how much money you’d like the system to take when your balance drops below £20 – either £10, £20 or £40.

Every time you begin a journey and your balance is under £20 you will hear an extra few beeps to signify that your debit or credit card has been debited with the extra amount.

5) Top up your Oyster card balance using the TFL app

You can download TFL’s official Oyster app onto your mobile phone from the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

You will then have to create a TFL account if you don’t already have one, and enter your Oyster number which can be found on the back of your card.

Now select the option for ‘Top up’ and choose any amount between £10 and £50 in multiples of £5. Payment can be taken with a debit or credit card.

Your comments and questions

EEJAY I've got an Oyster Card and I live on the Isle of Wight. I would like to put money on my Oyster Card before I make a trip up to London. Can I do this online via my Oyster Account?

Staff Hi Eejay, sure. If you've registered your card on the TFL website then you can top it up online, or by downloading their app. But only if it's a blue Oyster card - you can't register Visitor Oyster cards. You'd have to wait until you come to London for that

Valerie We have Oyster Cards from when we lived near London (we're in Newcastle now). Is it worth putting money on them when we come down next week (overnighting prior to going to Heathrow), or is it just as easy and no more expensive) to touch and go? BTW, I think your site is terrific

Staff Hi Valerie. Cost wise there's absolutely no difference because Oyster fares and contactless fares are exactly the same. You still get the daily cap on both. But you don't have to bother topping up your bank card, so maybe it's a little bit less hassle.

Mike I added auto top up to my oyster card.I am concerned if the card is stolen it can be used indefinitely,can auto top up be cancelled?

Staff Hi Mike. You should be able to just log in into your TFL Oyster account and turn it off. But you can also report your card as lost or stolen, and then they'll cancel the old card so it can't be used at all, and transfer your remaining credit onto a new one -​fares/​refunds-and-replacements/lost-oyster-card

Clive Hi. I'm travelling to London with friends we did this trip last year and bought prepaid Visitor Oyster cards online, can we use these cards again this year as we paid the £5 admin fee? (Don't want to pay it again!) If so, where is the best place to top them up.

Staff Hi Clive. You can use them again because they never expire. Unlike the regular blue Oyster cards you can't register Visitor Oyster cards online, but you can top them up easily enough at all the places mentioned above

Yvonne I bought a visitors card two years ago. I may or may not have had a refund of any credit when I left the UK. I still have the card. My question is... Will I be able to add credit to this card for use when I come to London?

Staff Hi Yvonne. If you did get a refund then the card will have been voided at the same time, so you wouldn't be able to top it up. But if you didn't then any credit remaining on it will still be there, and you can top it up with some more at all the places listed above

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