The OV-chipkaart is the new payment method for public transportation in trams, the metro and buses in the Netherlands.
Types of OV-chipkaart
The OV-chipkaart fully replaced the strippenkaart system in November 2011 and is available in three types:
The disposable OV-chipkaart is made of stiff paper and cannot be topped up with credit. Thus, it is intended for travellers who do not use the Dutch public transportation system very often, for example tourists.
The disposable OV-chipkaart can be purchased from machines or on-board, and since this type of card is topped up when you buy it, you can use it straight away to travel for one or 24 hours (unlimited travel for one day). Note that you have to check in and out with the disposable chipkaart otherwise it becomes invalid.
The anonymous OV-chipkaart (anonieme OV-chipkaart) is reusable, and once loaded with electronic credit it can be used for travelling. It can be used by the owner as well as by others, but not at the same time.
Travellers pay per kilometre and the balance (saldo) can be topped up at machines and kiosks. However, note that you cannot load a season ticket onto the anonymous OV-chipkaart.
The personal OV-chipkaart (persoonlijke OV-chipkaart) is for one user and includes his / her name, date of birth, and photograph. Consequently, the personal version is non-transferable, but the owner does enjoy other benefits including the option to block it (for instance in case of theft) and automatic top up.
The personal OV-chipkaart can also be loaded with an off-peak hours train travel discount from NS (voordeelurenabonnement). Finally, it is also possible to load the personal chipkaart with season tickets and other products.
To apply for the personal version of the chipkaart - via OV-chipkaart, GVB Tickets & Info, or GVB Customer Service - you must have a Dutch address and a bank account. Residents of Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg can also acquire one by paying via a Dutch bank account, PayPal, or credit card.
Notes about the OV-chipkaart
- Always make sure you have enough electronic credit before travelling. You can use the yellow devices in stores (e.g. Primera) and supermarkets (e.g. Albert Heijn), the inquiry devices in metro stations, and ticket machines at train stations.
- Senior citizens (older than 65) and children (4-11 years old) receive a travel discount (a lower base fee and lower rate for every kilometre) with a personal OV-chipkaart.
- If you forget to check in or out, you will be charged a flat penalty. If you forget to do so more than 12 times within two weeks, your OV-chipkaart will be blocked. To unblock it, visit one of the Tickets & Info offices.
- In case of theft, you can have your OV-chipkaart blocked and the remaining credit transferred to either your bank account or to a new OV-chipkaart. The Customer Service number is 0900-0980 (0,10 euros per minute). This of course applies only to personal OV-chipkaart owners.
- The personal OV-chipkaart is valid for five years. Six weeks before the expiration date a letter will be sent to you with the options of applying for a new one or refunding the remaining credit.
- If your anonymous OV-chipkaart is about to expire, visit OV-chipkaart and complete the "Restitutie verlopen anonieme OV-Chipkaart" form to refund the remaining credit.
- For all other claims visit GVB.