What is an OV Chipkaart?

Information correct as of May 2023

The OV Chipkaart, or as it's written in English, the OV-chipcard, is a contactless plastic smart card system used for all public transport around The Netherlands. It is the same size as a bank card and fits perfectly into your wallet. How does the OV chipkaart work? To use any public transport in The Netherlands, you need to either buy a ticket or add money onto your OV chipkaart. Once you add money to your OV chipkaart, you can use it on any public transport in The Netherlands.

Types of OV Chipkaart

OV Chipkaart For Students

Public transport is relatively expensive in The Netherlands, but if you are a student, you're in luck! Students get the option to receive a student OV chipkaart. With the student public transport card, you can travel free or with a discount to and from your course. You can apply for a student OV chipkaart through DUO, and it should be on your door step in no time!

Personal OV Chipkaart

A personal OV chipkaart costs €7,50, and it is valid for five years. You can apply for a personal OV chipkaart online, and you will receive the new card within 6 working days. The personal OV chipkaart even goes beyond public transport. With a personal card, you can also add discounts, season passes and so much more! The personal OV chipkaart is yellow and includes a picture of you.

With this card you can also get reimbursed for work transport as you can show receipts to the payroll company. There is even an option for automatic reload or monthly invoicing, as opposed to the cards that you simply get at the machine, where you have to continuously add money onto your card at the various NS machines around the city. NS, also known as Nederlandse Spoorwegen, is the railway company that operates around The Netherlands. All you have to do to add money onto your OV chipkaart is go up to one of the machines, place your card down onto the designated area in which the machine points out, then follow the steps on the screen to load money onto your card. Yes, as simple as that!

With a personalized card, you can travel with friends in group discounts! You can also store your personal bike (for free) at the NS bike-storage facilities. These can be found at most train stations in The Netherlands. With a personal OV chipkaart, you can store your bike for free for up to 24 hours at a variety of stations.

What is an OV Chipkaart?

OV Bike Rental

With a personal OV chipkaart, you can also rent out an OV bike. You can rent this bike for €3 for 24 hours, which is exponentially cheaper than any bike rental shop! How this works is; you pick up a bike at the station, cycle as you please, and simply leave it at the same station. You can also leave it at another station, but this will cost you a small additional fee. You can find these bike rental spots at various main train stations such as Amsterdam Centraal (Amsterdam central station). If you would like to know where there are other rental locations, check out the NS-website! You usually find the blue and yellow bikes outside the main train stations. You can rent a bike in any Dutch city and bring it to any other city for as long as you would like to! However, your card will continue to get charged wherever you rent it and remember, you must return it to the station where you picked it up.

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Where Can I Buy an OV Chipkaart?

There are many methods of buying your own OV chipkaart. If you are looking to get a temporary one, which is the blue card, you can simply go to any NS machine. These machines are at all train and metro stops around the Netherlands. To get the blue card, you simply have to go to a machine and follow the instructions under ´OV Chipkaart´. The machine will guide you through the steps, and you will receive the card immediately.

Applying for your personal OV chipkaart is just as easy! All you have to do is follow the OV Chipkaarts website step-by-step guide and the personal card will be sent directly to you in a matter of days. All you need to apply is a digital photo is JPG, iDeal or PayPal for people with an address in Belgium, Germany or Luxenbourg.

Use your bank card to travel.

You can now use your bank card (debit or credit) just like an OV-chipkaart, just check in and check out with your bank card. Accepted debit cards in the Netherlands are, ABN AMRO, ASN Bank, Bunq, ING, Rabobank, Regiobank, SNS. You can also use your credit card, with contactless credit cards from Mastercard or Visa. You can also use a foreign contactless debit or credit card from Maestro, V PAY, Mastercard or Visa. You can also, of course use your smartphone or smartwatch if you have linked your debit or credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where can I buy an OV Chipkaart?

  • OV chipkaart can be bought in various places. The student OV chipkaart can be ordered through DUO, the personalised OV chipkaart can be bought online. If you do not want to create a personal card of any sort, whether this is a student card or a personal card, then you can simply buy an everyday card at any machine that allows you to fill it up. These machines can be found at some tram stops and all tube stations!

  • How can I put money into my OV chipkaart?

  • There are various NS machines around all the cities in The Netherlands. The most common place for these machines to be found is at train / metro stations. However, you can also find it at some tram stops and even at some supermarkets!

  • Which supermarkets sell OV chipkaart?

  • Not all supermarkets have NS machines, but it is indeed possible to find it at some Albert Heijns or even a Jumbo, however, it is definitely easier to find one of these machines close to metro or tram stop rather than at supermarkets.

  • How do you use an OV Chipkaart?

  • Using your OV chipkaart is very easy. For trains, metros and trams, all you have to do in order to enter is scan your card. If your card has money on it, you are able to enter the station or the tram. If your card does not have money, all you have to do is go up to one of the machines, add more balance, and then you are able to enter. As for trams, you cannot add balance inside the tram so you most likely have to go up to the kiosk inside the tram and simply pay for a ticket, and the next time you see a machine make sure to fill up your card. Whenever you leave any form of public transport, remember to check out! Simply press your card against the check-in/check-out machines and there you have it!

  • What is the difference between a blue OV chipkaart and a yellow OV Chipkaart?

  • The blue OV chipkaart is an anonymous OV card. It is not linked to your name and can be shared between people. This card is very easy and quick to purchase. The blue OV card does not have any extra services or discounts, and it is a pre-paid card and the balance has to be topped up as you use it. This card is good for people who do not use public transportation very often. If you lose the blue OV chipkaart, then you simply have to buy a new one at a machine. The yellow card, also known as the personal OV chipkaart , comes with your name and your photo on it. It is ordered through the OV Chipkaart website, and it allows you to add discounts, additional services, season passes and more! There is also an option for an automatic reload system or a monthly invoicing. With the personal OV card you are able to rent bikes and if it is lost or stolen, the card can be blocked, and you can be given a new one!

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