How does the public transport chip card work?

The public transport chip card must be used on all RET bus, tram and metro lines. It is not mandatory on the BOB bus, but it can still be used. The public transport chip card cannot yet be used for travelling on the Fast Ferry.

Step 1: Topping up

You can top up the public transport chip card at various locations. You can find top-up machines at the metro stations, near RET service points, in a large number of Albert Heijn supermarkets, in tobacco and gift shops and in the Primera shops.

See the list of all top-up points

How does it work?

Topping up the card is a step-by-step process. You operate the machine using the ‘touch screen’ (just as an iPad or tablet).
In order to increase the balance of your public transport chip card at the top-up & collection machine, simply insert your public transport chip card in the card slot and follow the on-screen instructions. You can pay with your debit or credit card.
All machines accept debit or credit card payments. Vending & top-up machines also accept cash.

You can also top up your balance or purchase a travel product online: place your order in the web shop and pay with iDEAL. Simply collect your order at a collection point near you . The web shop displays a list of your orders and their status. As long as you have not collected the order, you can still cancel it.

Step 2: Checking in

You check in by holding your public transport chip card in front of the card reader. The device automatically checks whether you have sufficient balance, or whether you have a valid travel product on your card.

  • €4.00 will be debited from your balance
  • You can hear a bleep
  • (at [metro] stations:) The gate opens

Step 3: Checking out

In order to check out at the end of your trip, hold up the card in front of the card reader again. If you are travelling using your balance, the expenses are settled there and then. If you travel with a travel product, a final inspection follows.

If you change to another mode of transport, for example, from metro to bus, you must check out first and then check in again on the other vehicle. If your public transport chip card has a negative balance (less than €0.00), you cannot travel. This is because travelling using your balance involves a fixed boarding charge of €4.00 at check-in. The actual charge will be set off against this at the end of your trip. If the actual travel expenses are less than €4.00, the amount paid in excess will be credited to your public transport chip card again when checking out.


If the transaction at a vending machine has not been successful or if something went wrong whilst travelling with the RET, you are entitled to a refund. If your personal or anonymous public transport chip card is faulty, you can also request a refund of the remaining card balance.


In the bus, tram and metro, you must check in and out, at all times. Also when changing!

Do you have questions about the public transport chip card? Check Alternatively, contact the Customer Service of the public transport chip card by calling 0900 - 0980 (Standard call charges).