The OV-chipcard

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  • Buy an ‘anonymous OV chip card’
  • The card costs €7.50 and is valid for a maximum of five years
  • You cannot add credit with your credit card
  • The minimum card balance for railway travel is €20!

When travelling by public transport in Holland, you can use the so-called OV chip card. This is a kind of credit card used to pay for bus, tram, train and metro. You can buy it at stations, kiosks and many supermarkets. Since there is no separate card for tourists, it is best to use an ‘anonymous’ OV chip card.

Charging credit to your OV chip card

An anonymous OV chip card costs €7.50 but does not contain any initial travel credit. You can add credit at one of the service desks or machines at many stations. Please note that the payment options vary but you can never pay by credit card. Once you have added credit, you can use the OV chip card to travel by bus, tram and metro. It is not yet suitable for use on the train however!

Using an OV chip card for railway travel

If you want to use your OV chip card to pay for railway travel (with NS), you must first activate it at an ‘NS ticket machine’. In addition there must be at least €20 worth of travel credit on your card before you can travel by train (this does not apply for bus, tram or metro). If you did not activate your OV chip card for railway travel, you can also buy a ticket at one of the 'NS ticket machines' or the ‘NS Tickets & Service Desks’ at the bigger stations. Please note that tickets cost €0.50 more at the 'NS Tickets & Service Desk'!

Credit card payment not always possible

If you want to buy a train ticket at one of the NS ticket machines, the payment methods are usually restricted to cash or PIN (debit card). You cannot use your credit card. Only the ticket machines at Schiphol Airport Station and Amsterdam Central Station accept credit cards.

Checking in and out

When getting on a bus, tram or train, hold the OV chip card in front of the clearly marked window on the check-in machine. The machine will confirm that you are checked in with a green light and audio signal (beep). Checking out works the same way; the machine tells you the cost of the ride and how much credit you have left. Remember to check out or the meter will keep running!

Validity of card and balance

Your anonymous OV chip card has a maximum validity of five years. In most cases the expiry date is printed on the card. You can therefore save your OV chip card for future use when you visit Holland again. The balance also remains valid. Please note that the price of the card itself (€7.50) is never refunded!

If you want to receive a refund for the credit balance, you can go to the service desk of one of the public transport companies at one of the stations (if the balance is lower than €30). You will pay an administration fee of €2.50. If you want to terminate the card, the public transport desk can give you a form. Fill out the form and send it to the address on the form together with the card.

Please note that you cannot block an anonymous OV chip card in case of loss or theft so do not put too much credit to the card!

Anonymous OV chip cards can be bought at:

  • Vending machines on stations
  • Several tobacco shops (such as Primera)
  • Several supermarkets
  • Some Bruna shops
  • Public transport service desks