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Contactless

How to use your Oyster card on Southern services, plus details of stations where you can buy or top up your card.

Contactless Pay As You Go (PAYG)

Contactless payment cards can be used to travel on most National Rail services in London, as well as bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail. Fares and daily caps are the same as with Oyster PAYG.

Just touch your debit or credit card on a yellow card reader to pay for your journey, the same as you would with your Oyster card, and you won’t have to queue for tickets at the station and won’t have to top up. Always remember to touch in and out.

With Contactless there is no need to top up or queue for tickets at the station. It makes getting around the capital so easy.

For more details on using Contactless card including registering it please visit contactless.tfl.gov.uk.

Contactless PAYG to Gatwick Airport and now Epsom

PAYG is also available at the following Southern stations:

  • Merstham
  • Redhill
  • Earlswood
  • Salfords
  • Horley
  • Gatwick Airport
  • Epsom

These extensions allow you to use either a contactless card, mobile device or an Oyster card to pay for travel.

As Oyster PAYG is based on single fares, there are occasions when Oyster may not be the cheapest option for your combination of journeys. Details of PAYG single fares can here found on the TfL website here. Details of caps for extension stations can also be found on the TfL website.

There are some important differences to be aware of:

  • These stations will not be included in the advertised London Travelcard zones; instead it offers customers an alternative way to pay for their travel using PAYG
  • Season tickets will not be available on Oyster along the extended route. If you normally buy a season ticket you are advised to continue to buy this using the Key Smartcard or a paper ticket
  • Whilst a daily cap will apply; it is important to be aware that it will not always be cheaper than buying a return paper ticket. There will also be a weekly price cap for those using a Contactless card or mobile device; but it will still be cheaper to buy a season ticket on the Key Smartcard or paper
  • Children’s ZIP Oyster cards, London Freedom Pass, 60+ London Oyster photocard and Veterans Oyster photocard holders can NOT travel free on the these routes
  • If you’re travelling between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria, please be aware that there are two fares in operation. If you travel on the Gatwick Express you will be charged the more expensive but flexible ‘any permitted’ fare. If you travel on Southern you will be charged a lower fare. The fare charged is determined by the gateline which you enter or exit through at London Victoria. Gatwick Express services generally arrive/leave from platforms 13 & 14 and Southern trains generally arrive/leave from platforms 15 – 19. Please make sure you touch in or out at the correct gateline.

Monday to Sunday capping

If you use the same contactless payment card to pay for all your journeys throughout the week until Sunday, you will also be eligible for a Monday to Sunday cap.

Start using your contactless payment card on a Monday for maximum benefit. Although you can buy a 7 Day Travelcard to start on any day of the week, Monday to Sunday capping always calculates your travel week from a Monday and finishes on the following Sunday.

Please note that caps are based on zonal travelcard prices and not rail only fares therefore the daily cap may be more expensive than a rail only paper ticket. Details of caps can be found here.

As Contactless PAYG is based on single fares, there are occasions when it may not be the cheapest option for your journey. Details of Oyster and Contactless single fares can here found here.

Some things to remember

Watch out for card clash

If you touch your contactless payment card on a card reader when it’s in the same wallet or purse as other bankcards or contactless smartcards (eg. Oyster card or building pass), you may end up paying with a card you didn't intend to use.

To avoid this happening, only touch the card you wish to pay with on the reader when touching in and out.

Always touch in and out

Always touch in and out on a yellow card reader with your contactless payment card at the start and end of your journey (even if the gates are open) to ensure you pay the right fare. When changing trains you may need to touch your card on a pink reader.

If you're travelling on a bus or tram you only have to touch in.

For full details please go to tfl.gov.uk/contactless.

Find out more about Contactless

Got a question about using Contactless on Southern? Check our frequently asked questions.

You can read more about Contactless on the Transport for London website.

You can also call Contactless customer services:

  • Telephone: 0845 330 9876
  • Textphone: 020 7027 8511

The Contactless Conditions of Use set out your rights and obligations when you use Contactless to travel on Southern or other National Rail services. They apply in addition to the National Rail Conditions of Travel.

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