Do you have an old Oyster card lying around that you no longer use? You could be entitled to reclaim a share of £530 million sitting on unused cards.

You can also get refunds for Tube delays and reclaim up to a year's overcharges if you failed to touch out - whether you paid by Oyster card, contactless card or mobile device.

According to Money Saving Expert, Transport for London (TfL) figures showed there were more than 81 million Oyster cards that hadn't been used for a year.

And there's more than £530 million sitting on them, which in March 2022 was made up of over £260 million in initial deposits when getting the card and over £270 million in pay-as-you-go credit.

If you no longer need an Oyster card, you can get a refund of the initial deposit (the £5 you paid to get your card) and any remaining pay-as-you-go credit. 

Your card will be stopped when you request a refund of the deposit, and you won't be able to use it again.

If you bought the card on or after February 23, 2020, you can only get your £5 deposit back after a year.

How to get an Oyster card refund

Money Saving Expert, founded by Martin Lewis, talks through the steps to claiming your Oyster card refund.

Firstly, you'll need to find out your balance to know if there's anything to reclaim - you can do this by registering your card online, or checking at a Tube station ticket machine.

Then there are five ways to go about claiming the money back from your Oyster card:


Unfortunately, you are unable to claim Oyster card refunds online.

Visiting the TfL website will tell you can claim a refund in person or by phoning 0343 222 1234. 

You can claim a refund for failing to tap out online however. 

Simply sign into your TfL account, select the card you used to pay for your journey and click or tap on 'Journey & payment history'.

Look for journeys with a yellow warning triangle next to them, then make your claim by filling in the form below the info. 

For more information head over to the TfL website and head to the refunds and replacements page.

By email

Get in touch with TfL by filling out an online form

According to Money Saving Experts, TfL aims to reply within 10 working days.

By phone 

To apply over the phone, call TfL customer services on 0343 222 1234.

Be sure to have your Oyster card number.

The phone line is open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

At stations 

News Shopper: You can get a refund from old Oyster cards at Tube station ticket machines.You can get a refund from old Oyster cards at Tube station ticket machines. (Image: PA)

If you have £10 or less pay-as-you-go credit, you can get a refund from Tube station ticket machines.

Just touch your Oyster card on the yellow card reader, select 'Oyster refund' and follow the instructions.

The ticket machine will dispense a refund in cash.

By post

Write to TfL Customer Services, 4th Floor, 14 Pier Walk, London, SE10 0ES. Again, include your contact details and Oyster card number.

Getting a refund can take just a few minutes, and the amounts aren't trivial. 

A former Money Saving Expert said: "I lived in London for eight years, and built up a stack of pay-as-you-go Oyster cards – it always seemed handy to have another one spare.

"But when I moved out of London (and started using contactless whenever I visited), suddenly I was left with a pile of blue plastic.

"So I logged on to Oyster, spent a satisfying five minutes adding them to my account and claiming refunds, and ended up claiming £67.85 in total."

Claim a refund if your Tube's delayed by 15 minutes or more

News Shopper: Did you know - you can claim a refund if your Tube is 15 minutes late?Did you know - you can claim a refund if your Tube is 15 minutes late? (Image: PA)

Delays can be extremely frustrating, but If your Tube journey is delayed by 15 minutes or more, you can get your money back for the inconvenience.

Whether you travelled using an Oyster card, contactless card, paper ticket or mobile device (using Apple Pay, Google Pay or similar), you can ask Transport for London (TfL) for a refund as long as it happened within the last 28 days.

You'll get the value of a single fare for the distance you travelled.

There are some exclusions however.

TfL says you can't apply for a refund for "delays outside our control". These factors include:

  • Bad weather
  • Customer incidents, such as a person falling ill on a train
  • Engineering works
  • Security alerts
  • Strikes

News Shopper: TfL will not issue a refund for strikes.TfL will not issue a refund for strikes. (Image: PA)

It also does not give refunds to those travelling for free via a Freedom Pass, 60+ Oyster photocard or Veterans Oyster photocard, or to children aged 11 or under who are travelling for free while accompanied by an adult.

How to claim your tube refund

Money Saving Experts suggest waiting at least 48 hours, as you might be refunded for your delayed journey automatically. 

You can check this by signing into your TfL account. 

Then go to 'View refund history', where you'll be shown refund applications from the last 12 weeks.

If you don't receive an automatic refund, you can apply for one by going to the 'Refunds and replacements' section of the TfL website and signing into your account.

Once you've logged in, select the Oyster card or contactless card you used to travel then hit the 'Claim for service delay' button and follow the instructions.

If you'd prefer to claim by phone, call TfL customer service on 0343 222 1234.

It deals with Oyster card and paper ticket queries 8am to 8pm each day and contactless card queries 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday.