This is an old page. The current version can be found here.
Touch In and Touch Out
The single most important rule with Oyster pay-as-you-go is to remember to touch in and touch out wherever you go. That doesn’t apply on buses or trams, but is always required on tubes, national rail and DLR. If you forget to do it then you will be charged a maximum fare for that journey and it won’t count towards any price cap for that day.
Register your card and Top-up online
When you get an oyster card it is highly recommended that you register it. This can be done at the same time by filling in a form and handing it to the vendor. Part of the registration process involves setting a password which can then be used to prove your identity when asking for a refund of any pay-as-you-go balance in the event of loss or damage to your card. You’ll also need it to set up an account on the TfL website. Using that account you can order top-up and optionally set up auto top-up.
Check your Journey History regularly
The oyster system is incredibly complex, and the addition of national rail has added yet more complexity on top. There are different price caps for buses and trams, peak and off-peak travel as well as different routes for many journeys on national rail. If you regularly check your journey history you can spot if any errors have been made. You’ll also see whether you have been charged any maximum fares and can work out why. If there is a good reason you can ask for an adjustment to be made.
This page updated 12 February 2016.