Using international bank cards for contactless

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  • #3646
    Gary Broadhurst
    Participant

    Hi Mike. Thanks for running such a great site! I’m sorry if this has already been asked but I couldn’t find it.

    I’ll be visiting London in January and I thought it would be easier to just use my foreign (Euro currency, Greek) bank card as a CPC. I do have an Oyster card anyway, but I’ll be arriving early morning into Heathrow and I don’t want to queue to top up the balance. I have a couple of questions:

    I have read on official sites that foreign cards sometimes works but sometimes don’t and it just depends on the bank/country issuing the card. Does anybody have any specific experience, particularly with a Greek Debit Mastercard.

    Also, is it true that the final charge for each day is deducted once, at the end of the day? (I guess that’s the same with all CPCs, wherever they are issued). My bank charges a couple of Euro for each foreign currency transaction and I’ll be travelling a lot – probably reaching the cap each day. I wouldn’t want to incur the 2 Euro fee for each journey!

    Thanks again for any help.

    #3647
    Mike
    Moderator

    Hi Gary,

    I’ve no experience with foreign contactless cards. My understanding is that most will work.

    On charging, yes you will only get one transaction per day. However, if your stay is for more than a couple of days then you might be better off using the Oyster and adding one topup to cover the several days caps. You can topup at the ticket machines at Heathrow so I don’t think the queues should be too long. If they are then maybe use the contactless card for the one journey into Central London and then top up the Oyster there.

    If you can give me a few more details about the trip (dates, likely destinations/zones used, etc) I should be able to suggest an amount to add. Also please confirm whether it is a normal blue Oyster or a visitor Oyster card.

    #3651
    Gary Broadhurst
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply. I’m actually quite familiar with Oyster in general, although it’s been two years since I was in the UK. And, in any case, I’ve just cancelled my trip due to the worsening Covid situation.

    Yeah – I could just use my Oyster card (a regular one) but I guess I’m trying to embrace “the future” with contactless. It ‘should’ be easier so I thought I’d give it a go, especially as topping up the Oyster would also require a visit to an ATM at Heathrow first. I usually try to leave enough on there after each visit so that I can at least get into the centre next time, but it has been so long I don’t know where I stand. After my next visit I will register the Oyster card (not done yet) so I can check the balance and (I assume) top it up online.

    I’ll let you know how the Greek bank card goes if I ever get chance to use it – maybe it’ll help somebody else.

    #3653
    Mike (admin)
    Keymaster

    Cheers Gary,

    You are able to top up Oyster at a ticket machine using a bank or credit card too, so you shouldn’t need to visit an ATM first. I’m with you on embracing contactless, but if individual trasactions are going to cost a set fee which can be combined into one transaction then I’d probably go for that.

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