Contactless vs Oyster

(Alex Sherwood) #1

Which is the better option for your TFL transactions?

Competitor Update 2
(Sacha) #2

Talking of payment by phones, I wish people would use regular Oyster cards on the tube in London instead of Apple Pay. The number of times I’ve been held up at the barriers by people hovering their phones to little effect recently :roll_eyes:


I got rid of my oyster card after finding out that regular contactless is often cheaper.

Now i use my kerv :slight_smile:


If only they knew how to use it properly. No issues with my Apple Watch in the underground.

(MikeF) #5

Only on very specific journey types/combinations. ‘Often’ is probably stretching it.


Maybe, but as far as I’m aware the only way that oyster can be cheaper is for the long term travel cards and there are no situations where in ordinary usage the contactless loses out to oyster but the opposite is not true.

(MikeF) #7

All perfectly true. Plus topping up is a pain which is why I Monzo my travel these days.

(Tommy Long) #8

Weekly cap only exists on contactless cards, right? I’ve hit that a few times.

(MikeF) #9

True. Although I lumped a ‘weekly ticket’ in with the ‘long term travelcards’ reference in @DaveTMG’s original post it will have an impact for some people. I’d still claim not ‘often’ but I’d mean ‘not often by accident’ and , in truth, I have no statistics to back me up on that.


I don’t think weekly cap works on oyster does it?

(MikeF) #11

No. I tend to lump it in with travelcards etc as I said above but it is a valid contactless ‘benefit’ if you travel enough to hit it.

(Jason Yau) #12

Oyster sadly due to my railcard, also Oyster is a lot faster than online contactless.


And me… Really annoying that you can’t assign railcards to contactless, but I tend to use a mixture of Monzo & Oyster (as you can only get the railcard saving on off peak travel) :metro:

(Caspar) #14

There are some journey combinations which are cheaper on Contactless than Oyster if you’re doing PAYG due to some quirks in the Oyster system, and the fact TfL have to pay some train operators set fees from Oyster journeys but not Contactless journeys.

If you travel at least once every day to and from work and most weekend days, it’s usually cheaper to have a monthly travel card, but if you have a week off work, or are away over xmas or whatever, it can be cheaper to go Contactless.

It would be nice if TfL (or maybe Monzo…) could look at your travel history and work out if you’d have been cheaper to go contacless in the last month, or look at your contactless history and suggest getting a monthly pass.

(Hugh) #15

Oyster. My Railcard is attached so I get 1/3rd off on off-peak travel :slight_smile:

(Adil Iqbal) #16

Oyster is cheaper for me with the railcard added for 1/3 off. But I would like to know how contactless is cheaper than oyster on ‘specific’ journeys. :thinking:

(Bruce Davies) #17

Personally I prefer using Oyster to anything else

(Bob) #18

The benefit of contactless over Oyster is the weekly capping on PAYG:

Adult Pay as you go
•With contactless and benefit from daily and weekly (Monday to Sunday) capping
•With Oyster and benefit from daily capping


Also contactless can be cheaper for journeys starting in the outer zones because of the way the system works out the cap.

With oyster it simply adds fares for the day and stops when it hits the cap. With contactless it keep a tally of the fares and then works out what would have been the best way to travel.

A subtle but important difference, such that if you start in the outer zones, travel a lot in zone 1 and then go back to the outer zone, oyster will give you an outer zone travel card for the day. The contactless system would work out if two singles plus an inner zone card would be cheaper and apply that.


Check out the Londonist video that explains how :+1: