Saturday 01 April 2023

OV-chipkaart out? Pay for your train trip by phone or bank card


Train travellers will be able to pay for second class tickets by debit card, credit card and phone from January 31 following a number of contactless payment trials at the main stations.

Operators Arriva in Limburg and Qbuzz in Zuid-Holland are also reducing use of the OV-chipkaart public transport smart card, although it will not be phased out completely. Travellers will still be able to buy a personal or, if they prefer not to share their data, an anonymous version.

‘Checking in and out will now be as easy as using your bank card to pay for your shopping,’ NS director Tjalling Smit said.

The new payment method is also aimed at getting people who hardly ever travel by train to use the rail links. ‘People who travel everywhere by car, for instance, feel having a public transport card is too much of a bother but may now be more inclined to use the train,’ he said.

The contactless pay scheme is part of the OVpay project, in which all public transport companies work together. The operators have invested some €100 million in the project, of which a third was put up by NS. Bus trials are currently ongoing.

The operating system Translink will check with banks whether or not travellers are in the red but cannot check travellers’ bank balances, does not have access to other financial information, or know where they have travelled, Smit said.

For now the system only covers second class travel. People who want to travel first class or at a reduced rate still need an OV card and/or season ticket. Translink will be adding these options later in the year.

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