What is a Zip Oyster Card?
I’ve just got my children a Zip Oyster Card each. Available for ages 5-10, 11-15 and 16-17 year olds, they offer free and discounted travel across the capital and beyond (including areas of Surrey) as well as independence for older children.
Like all Oyster cards, Zip cards can be preloaded with credit for pay as you go and enable users to easily touch in and out anywhere where there’s an Oyster yellow card reader (you only have to touch in on buses and trams).
Applying for a Zip Oyster photocard online
A parent or guardian needs to apply for the photocard for under 18s and you do this by creating a free account in your own name: https://photocard.tfl.gov.uk/
By entering your child’s date of birth, the system automatically recognises which card you’re applying for. You’ll need digital photos of each child you’re applying for and their passport details to verify their age.
It’s all very straight forward. Make sure you use a clear head and shoulders shot though as two out of three of my pics were rejected. I think this was because they were too heavily cropped and therefore pixelated. The communication, which is via texts and emails, about the progress of the application was great and the cards arrived 2-3 days after application, even the ones where I needed to upload alternative pics.
Zip cards for 5-10 year olds
These cards cost £10 on application and with it your child gets free travel on all London transport services (under-11s can travel free at any time on London buses and trams without a ticket/Oyster Card).
- Free travel on Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail
- Free travel on most National Rail services* that accept pay as you go
- 50% off adult rate tickets on the Thames Clippers River Bus services
- Pay as you go at a child rate on the IFS Cloud Cable Car (formerly Emirates Air Line Cable Car)
Zip cards for 11 -15 year olds
For children aged 11-15 the card costs £15 and offers free and discounted travel.
- Free travel on buses and trams
- Child rate pay as you go fares on Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and Emirates Air Line
- 50% off most fares on National Rail services *
- 50% off adult rate tickets on the Thames Clippers River Bus services.
You can top up ad hoc easily from your account by clicking the link shown.
However, there’s also the option to auto top up. This Tech Advisor article provides a useful step-by-step guide: https://www.techadvisor.com/how-to/internet/top-up-zip-oyster-3803620/
Enjoy your travels!
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* check website for exclusions