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Frequently Asked Questions

The Public Transport Chip Card or ‘OV-chipkaart’ is the normal public transport ticket in Netherlands. The classic paper tickets are no longer used. On this page we will answer questions about the use and the rules about the Anonymous Public Transport Chip Card. Please also refer to our: Manual Check-in Check-out Chip Card.

How does Checking-in work?


You should always check in and out when travelling using the OV-chipkaart. The system
registers where you board and where you exit and determines the cost of the journey.
Check-in as follows:

  • Hold the OV-chipkaart in front of the OV-chipkaart logo (the hand with a card) on the
    smart card reader.
  • You will hear a beep and the green indicator will light up.
  • The display shows a text such as: Goede reis (Have a nice journey!).
  • If you check in at an access gate, the gate will open.

Are you travelling with others? Every passenger is required to have their own Chip Card. If you are traveling with children and you are passing through access gates, the children will have to pass through the gates one by one. A wider gate will always have been installed near standard access gates. Make sure you do not hold the card in front of the reader twice because you will not only be checking in but also checking out. If an inspector checks the tickets and you are not checked in you will be fined.

What happens when you check in?

Your OV-chipkaart is checked when you check in. If your card includes a valid travel product, it is used for the journey. If not, you will pay for the journey with the e-purse balance on the OV-chipkaart. The boarding rate will be temporarily deducted from the OV-chipkaart balance. The journey costs are settled against this boarding rate when you exit the transport modality you have used. You cannot travel if the balance is a negative amount. You need to top up the e-purse balance of the OV-chipkaart before you can travel using the card.

How does Checking-out work?

Woman Checking-in at Rotterdam

At your destination you check out when you exit the transport modality you have used. Even when you transfer from one modality to another you need to check out. You will again check in when you use the next transport modality. Follow the same procedure to check out as you did to check in. Note: If you change from one NS train to another NS train you do not have to check out and check in again.

What happens when you check out?

The smart card reader determines whether you travelled using a travel product or using the balance on the OV-chipkaart. If you travel using the e-purse balance on the OV-chipkaart the smart card reader will show the cost of your journey. The boarding rate minus your travel costs is paid back on to your OV-chipkaart. Do not forget to check out! If you do not check out, the system cannot reimburse part of the boarding rate.