Is the OV chip card being replaced slowly?

From 2002, the OV chip card is the way to pay in public transport in the Netherlands. Many people find that there are many disadvantages to using it such as the costs and the hassle at check-in and check-out. That is why the joint public transport companies will start a trial at the end of 2015 to see if it is possible to check in and out with a bank card or smartphone. If this test is successful, the public transport chip card may be replaced in 2016 and it will be possible to pay in public transport with these new methods.


The OV chip card

From 2002, the OV chip card is the payment method for public transport in the Netherlands. The electronic payment card contains an NFC chip. The card can be used by putting money or a subscription on it. When you travel, check in and out at the end of the journey in advance. Two types of cards can be purchased, an anonymous card or a personal public transport card, both costs 7.50 euros. Children under 4 years old do not need a public transport card because they can travel for free. Children between 4 and 11 years of age can travel more cheaply by means of a rail runner, which can be loaded on the public transport card or picked up at a ticket machine.

Disadvantages of the OV chip card

The price

One of the biggest annoyances of users of the OV chip card is the price. The card lasts five years, but each time a new card is requested, 7.50 euros must be paid for it. Many users find this price too high and they also find it unnecessary to buy a new card while the old one still works well and still looks good. This is especially the case with travelers who use the card only a few times a year.

Checking in and out

People have no problem checking in before the journey begins and checking out again at the end of the journey. What annoys most travelers is the fact that when changing carriers, they have to check in again. Sometimes it is difficult to find a pole to check out and check in again when there is only a few minutes transfer time. This means that travelers can just miss a connection. There are also known cases where the checkout post does not work, but the new carrier has checked in. An amount is automatically deducted for forgetting to check out. It is possible to get this money back, but this waiting time can sometimes run up to a month, while the traveler cannot do anything about it.


Although you are probably not bothered by this, it is extremely difficult for travelers who cannot read or understand Dutch to use public transport in the Netherlands. Getting a public transport chip card is often a problem for a tourist. An anonymous card or a disposable card can be purchased. A single card can only be purchased at vending machines, where payment can only be made with a debit card, credit card or coin, but many credit cards are not supported and coins cannot be exchanged. At many stations ticket counters have been cut away so that an anonymous card cannot be purchased. But especially checking in and out in between is often not understandable for tourists, otherwise charging the card is often a big mystery to tourists.

Try paying in public transport with a bank card and smartphone

In the autumn of 2015, the joint public transport companies in the Netherlands will start a pilot test to see whether checking in and out with a bank card or smartphone can serve as a replacement for the public transport chip card. The public transport chip card has not improved traveling, and older people in particular find it very difficult to use. That is why transport companies have decided to start a trial. The test mainly tests the security of payment comprehensively. But customer friendliness and ease of travelers are also being investigated. In London a lot of use is already made of checking in with a bank card, paying with a smartphone is still under development everywhere. The advantages will be that purchasing a public transport chip card will no longer be necessary and that both the smartphone and bank card can be linked to your account.
If the test is successful, it will probably become possible in the course of 2016 to pay in public transport with methods other than just the public transport card and individual tickets. Furthermore, if the test is successful, research into other payment methods will be a logical step. Another step that is likely to be taken is the use of so-called 'beacons' as a replacement for check-in posts. When someone walks past a beacon, this will be registered so that checking in and out is no longer necessary.

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