How to Buy an Oyster Card

Oyster cards cover various public transportation options within London.
Oyster cards cover various public transportation options within London. (Image: PetarPaunchev/iStock/Getty Images)

London is renowned for its extensive public transportation system, which is linked together via a payment option known as the Oyster card. Both residents and visitors use the card for traveling on trains, buses, trams, light rail and subways within the city of London. Purchasing an Oyster card is easy, with options to order ahead of your intended travel date, pick one up at the airport upon arrival or purchase at train stations and various public venues.

On the Move

To ensure that you hit the ground running upon arrival at a London airport, order an Oyster card online before you depart. A small minimum deposit is required, and you choose from several options to put money on the card. The card takes between 12 and 16 days to arrive at an address in the United States. If you opt to purchase an Oyster card at the airport, visit a transportation booth or use your credit card to obtain one at an automated machine. Topping up the card is easy after registering the card online with a free account and storing your payment method. Other places to purchase an Oyster card after arrival in London include train stations, bus depots and visitor information booths in major tourist areas such as Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Street.

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